Dog daycare workers push back against Downtown Dog Lounge at union bargaining table

UPDATE: As of 11:30 Friday night, Vincentini said she and the negotiating parties have come to a tentative agreement.

Dog daycare workers at Downtown Dog Lounge continue their fight for what they’re calling a fair union contract. 

The workers who are organizing with UFCQ 3000 want the owner and their employer, Elise Vincentini, to stop dragging her feet and give in to their demands.

"I’ve been in business 23 years," Vincentini told FOX 13. "It’s like a small handful of employees want to dictate every aspect of my business."

The group said if the business owner does not agree to a contract that meets their demands during their upcoming bargaining sessions, more than 60 workers could potentially go on strike, leaving hundreds of dogs without day or overnight care.

"We want to make Downtown Dog Lounge a happy place for clients, for dogs. We want to show how much we care about the fur babies that come into the doors every day, and the better staffing we have the better conditions, the buildings are in the better time the dogs are going to have," said employee and union negotiating participant Judy Coy.

"I’m a little confused by all this," Vincentini said. "I’m more than willing to give them a pay raise. Anyone that knows me or knows the Downtown Dog Lounge knows my commitment and dedication to this industry and to the employees is huge."

Downtown Dog Lounge workers are fighting for four demands which include:

  • Higher wages
  • A safe dog-to-worker ratio
  • Standardized emergency protocols
  • Regular workplace maintenance

"We already pay high wages," Vincentini said.

Downtown Dog Lounge workers make between the city-mandated minimum wage of $19.97 and $25 an hour.

As for the dog-to-worker ratio, there is no set standard set by state law.

Vincentini said Downtown Dog Lounge sticks to a ratio of one worker to 20 to 25 during the day, with about a quarter of those dogs in crates at a time. She said the workers' numbers fail to consider the watch of groomers, bathers, and other positions. At night, she usually staffs two people once they reach 70 dogs, which she said is better than other places.

"I feel all this has come about because of a few disgruntled workers who want more," said Vincentini. "As I’ve said in the past, I’m willing to work with them but this is taking away from our real mission which are the dogs we care for."