August 18th, 2010 | by Sarah Jacoby News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Why There's a Protest Outside Dogs Dig It

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Cristen Love doesn't dig Dogs Dig It any more.

The 29-year-old woman says the dog daycare center in southeast Portland fired her last week after what she describes as her calling out owners and management on their business practices. And Love, while not quite going Steven Slater on her former employer, is responding by organizing regular protests with her supporters outside the business at 1132 SE Salmon St.

Love, who had worked at the center since December, says she complained when Dogs Dig It required its employees to clock in 10 minutes before their shift without pay. She says anyone who didn't clock in early was considered tardy and could be written up for it. Love says she had been speaking to management and other employees about the system when management told her she'd been tardy too many times in a pay period. She says her employer told her she would be given a day of unpaid suspension as punishment, but that she was fired the next day without explanation.

While 10 minutes may not seem like much, Love says it does add up over time, especially for employees who are working for minimum wage.

"They can't make us work for free," Love says, "and then try to fire us when we say that's not OK."

After Love was fired, she says the tardy policy was changed, but that she did not get her job back and that no one has been reimbursed for their time. "The most important thing to say," she continues, "is that they have made some changes, but they admitted they were doing it wrong the very day that they fired me."

Love and her group of backers say they won't stop until there are reimbursements and Love gets her job back. Although the protest Tuesday afternoon seemed pretty tame, Love says one of her managers came outside earlier Tuesday, interrupted a conversation she was having with a passerby and began yelling at and threatening her.

Dogs Dig It refused to comment.

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