Ex-employees of De Rodriguez Cuba at the Astor, which closed in February this year, are picketing De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean, located in the Hilton Bentley Miami Beach Hotel on the corner of First Street and Ocean Drive in an attempt to settle back pay claims.
Saturday evening, about a dozen ex-employees and supporters held signs and called
out to chef Douglas Rodriguez to come out and pay the 11 employees who are
claiming a total of $21,000 in back wages and tips they say are owed to
them from their time at D. Rodriguez Cuba at the Astor.
Among the protesters was Lorena Diez, who worked as a server at the
Astor Hotel location. She claims that not only is she owed back pay, but also while she was employed, she was asked to clean the restaurant and attend
meetings for free.
Server Lorena Tumgalli echoes the sentiment, saying she is owed some back pay as well as her last two weeks' tips.
Bachli, who worked as a busser and breakfast server, tells Short Order
that he sometimes worked 18-hour days at the now-shuttered restaurant but
was asked to clock in under two different employee numbers to avoid
being paid overtime.
We spoke to a representative of Chef
Rodriguez, who said that though his name was on the restaurant, the owner of De Rodriguez Cuba at the Astor was an out-of-state company and that the current restaurant, De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean, is owned by a
completely different company. He also stated that Rodriguez is in
negotiations with the ex-employees because in no way does he want to see
any of his employees, current or otherwise, not paid what's due to
While searching the Florida Division of Corporations website, we found Douglas Rodriguez listed as president of OLA South Beach Inc., whose address (956 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach) is the same as that of De Rodriguez Cuba at the Astor Hotel.
Protesters say they'll picket the restaurant every weekend until the
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issue is resolved. We'll keep you updated with information as we receive