Gimme! Coffee Baristas Organize Union in Workplace;
NLRB Election to Be Held on Thursday, May 31st
(ITHACA) Approximately 22 Gimme! Coffee baristas will have the opportunity to vote in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election on the question of whether or not to organize a union to negotiate a contract in their workplaces on Thursday, May 31st in Ithaca. The election will be for non-managerial baristas at the W. State/MLK Street location (where the election for all 4 stores will be held); the N. Cayuga Street location; the Gates Hall location at Cornell U.; and the Trumansburg location.
Samantha Mason, a barista at the Cayuga Street Gimme! Coffee location and a member of the Workers United Organizing Committee says: “Democracy doesn’t just happen every four years. At Gimme! Coffee, my co-workers and I hope to set an example by practicing democracy daily in embracing our collective power to organize at the workplace.”
Says Korbin Richards, a barista at the Gates Hall location: “This is important not just for Gimme! Coffee but for the whole working class. We want to prove that you can create a reciprocally transparent and respectful relationship with your employer, which will hopefully redraw what it means to be in the service industry.”
Owner and founder of Gimme! Coffee, Kevin Cuddeback, has this to say about the potential union at Gimme! Coffee: “We respect employees’ right to decide whether to unionize, and we’ll continue working with all our employees to make Gimme the best place it can be for our employees, customers, and coffee suppliers.”
Pete Meyers, Coordinator of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center (TCWC), says: “The excitement the baristas have around the potential unionizing of their workplace is impressive and contagious. It is inspiring how these workers are especially interested in organizing the larger industry of Hospitality Workers throughout our community. The TCWC has, for 15 years, operated a Worker’s Rights Hotline – which the Gimme! Coffee workers engaged with to find resources to start their union effort – through which we’ve received a disproportionate amount of complaints from hospitality workers about their treatment in the workplace. These issues, in the final analysis, will most likely only be resolved collectively by workers organizing together in their joint self-interest.”
Gary Bonadonna, Manager of Workers United/Rochester Regional Joint Board, and the union that is organizing with the Gimme! Coffee baristas had this to say: “We are honored to be working with Gimme! Coffee workers.  They are a dedicated, creative and inspirational group.  Unions, to be relevant in today’s workforce, must assist workers to organize in the growing but low wage service sector economy. Deunionization of our society led by the Walmarts of this world is not a healthy thing. I also want to praise the enlightened management of Gimme! Coffee. Too often employers wage war against their workers who want to organize. Gimme! Coffee management, led by CEO Kevin Cuddeback, brews justice with their great coffee.”
[Photo Credit: Richard Bensinger]