UPPER EAST SIDE — A labor dispute at Dylan's Candy Bar has left a sour taste in the sweet shop workers' mouths.
Employees of the luxury candy store on 60th Street and Third Avenue have been protesting their $8.50 hourly pay and the management’s practice of refusing to schedule them for 40 hours a week since July.
“I was hired as a full-time worker,” said Philip Armone, 27, who has been at Dylan’s for over a year. “The most hours I’ve ever worked is 38.”
On Friday, Armone joined a group of eight protesters in front of the store, which is owned by Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan Lauren. It was the group's third rally.
The group, which included representatives from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, stood in the rain, chanting, “Dylan, Dylan, Candy Queen you’re filthy rich so share your green,” while carrying giant lollipops that read, “Dylan, we’re not suckers.”
Dylan's, which charges $40 for a gingerbread house and $28 for a tower of chocolate pretzels, makes sure that its employees don't work enough to be eligible for overtime pay, Armone said.
A manager at the store declined to comment for this story and a spokesperson did immediately respond for comment.
Employees want the management to raise their hourly wage to $13.99 — the price per pound for a bag of candy — and give them set schedules, Armone said.
None of Dylan’s employees have been fired over their participation in the protests. However, some of them have been assigned to some of the less desirable jobs.
Armone, who was once named employee of the month, has been exiled to the “Ooey Gooey” chocolate station in the store’s basement floor.
“Officially we are suppose to be there two hours but they’ve kept me there for four hours,” he said. “It’s downstairs away from all of the other employees.”
On Friday, the group of protesters hoped to be there when the Gossip Girl Tour Bus arrived at the store. Unfortunately it did not show up, protestor Stephanie Basile, 30, said
The tour bus stops at Dylan’s where, “Dan helped Vanessa pick out candy for her anniversary with Nate,” according to the tour’s site.
Dylan’s opened in 2001 and boasts high-profile clients like Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Taylor Swift, David Beckham, and Tom Cruise. The Upper East Side hot spot attracts over 2.5 million customers a year, according to their website.
“My wife loves this store, she’s been coming here for seven years,” said Jim Glasworthy, 66, from Scotland, who went into Dylan’s while his wife shopped at Bloomingdale’s across the street where entry-level employees make $12.36 an hour.
Glasworthy, who bought a lollipop-shaped Christmas ornament, said his wife shops for her two children and four grandchildren at Dylan’s. He had not heard of their scheduling practices until seeing the protesters Friday.
“I don’t agree with that practice,” he said.