On Wednesday morning, a crowd of Colectivo Coffee workers, union brothers and sisters, and community supporters, gathered at the Humboldt Road Collectivo coffee shop in Milwaukee that doubles as the company’s headquarters.
Colectivo workers in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Madison have voted for representation from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the IBEW, but Colectivo management has refused to bargain a first contract. Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, was there, and gave a summary of where things stand.
After some speakers were heard, a petition signed by thousands of Colectivo worker members and supporters, demanding that Colectivo bargain in good faith with its now-unionized workforce, was brought into the Colectivo shop, but management made themselves scarce. Dean Warsh is the business agent for IBEW Local 494 in Milwaukee. He is disappointed in Colectivo management’s refusal to enter into legally-required good-faith bargaining, but he is confident that the newly-organized members at Colectivo will stand firm until a contract is won.
David Jungbluth of IBEW Local 158 in Green Bay was there.
Ryan Coffel, a shift leader at the Logan’s Square Colectivo in Chicago, was an organizer for the successful union drive. He described how it started.
Coffel described the company’s reaction to the organizing drive once it became public.
Zoe Muellner, who Coffel just mentioned, was a trainer for Colectivo, and a union organizer. They were let go, supposedly due to COVID-related cutbacks, in October 2020. Muellner describes what happened next.
But although Colectivo resumed extensive re-hiring, Muellner was never called back.
Muellner has since been hired for a job by IBEW and has an unfair labor practice complaint pending in the National Labor Relations Board. But despite the tactics of Colectivo management, the workers are standing firm for a first contract.
Image Courtesy: Greg Geboski / WORT NEWS