Philadelphia

Dozens out of work as Philadelphia realty company closes its coffee shops

More than 30 people have lost their jobs as OCF Coffee House has announced that it is closing all 3 branches. The move comes just a week after workers at the eateries unionized

NBC Universal, Inc.

In an abrupt move on Tuesday, OCF Coffee House, which had three locations on South Street, Fairmount Avenue and Federal Street in the Point Breeze neighborhood, announced the closure of all of its stores.

"It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the closure of all three OCF Coffee House locations," the company wrote on a social media post on Tuesday. "After 13 wonderful years of serving our beloved community, the time has come to say goodbye."

In the post, OCF Coffee House -- which is owned by OCF Realty -- said rising operational costs, reduced sales and "the expiration of a couple of our leases this summer have made if difficult to continue operating the coffee shops."

This move comes just about a week after OCF Coffee House workers voted to join the Workers United, Local 80 union.

In a statement on the closures, the coffee house said that the "staff’s desire to organize has regrettably moved us beyond any cost that we could sustain."

In response, the union in a statement to NBC10 accused OCF founder and president Ori Feibush of closing the shops, not due to financial issues -- as the coffee house claimed -- but instead in retaliation to the workers' decision to unionize.

“OCF workers took a courageous stand against a bully boss and slumlord to say that enough is enough and they demand better working conditions," the union's statement read. "In retaliation that same bully boss chose to shutter his operations, without even the grace of advance notice to his employees or managers, believing that closing his business will solve his current problem of pesky workers being empowered enough to dare to stand up for themselves. Feibush fails to understand that there is a movement behind these workers, the entire Philadelphia labor movement and our Joint Board as part of that larger whole, and this movement has a long memory."

In the statement, the union representative argued that closing the shops could end up costing more than ownership may have bargained for.

"We will be mobilizing a broad coalition of labor and community allies to make clear to Ori Feibush that the price of union-busting in Philly will cost him more than a few cafes."

NBC10 has reached out to OCF Realty for a response to the union's claims. The realty company did not immediately respond.

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