Gimme! Coffee Baristas Unanimously Ratify Their First Union Contract

Gimme! Coffee Baristas Unanimously Ratify Their First Union Contract

ROCHESTER – February 7, 2018 – Baristas at the Ithaca, NY based coffee chain, Gimme! Coffee, unanimously voted to ratify their first union contract with their employer with the help of Workers United – Rochester Regional Joint Board and the Tompkins County Workers Center. The contract follows a successful union organizing campaign that culminated with an overwhelming union victory this past summer in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. The workers at Gimme! Coffee are one of the first coffee chain baristas in the country to organize for union representation.

Says Gimme! Coffee Barista Samantha Mason: ” Having a contract that protects me and my co-workers is only one of the benefits to having a union. For me, the most integral part of this has been to see how far my co-workers and I have come in building solidarity, in rebalancing power and having the courage to take action and create a better workplace. It’s important to me that all workers understand that they can change their workplace.”

Gary Bonadonna Jr., Manager of Rochester Regional Joint Board, stated: “I would like to salute the Gimme! Coffee baristas for the dedication and hard work they put in to organize their union and negotiate an initial union contract. They are an inspirational group. If as a society we truly want to address the issue of economic inequality, then the Gimme! workers offer part of the solution: work together and organize a union. Too often workers in this country who want to organize a union to make improvements on their job have to walk through a minefield of threats and intimidation by their employer. I want to recognize Gimme! Coffee management for not going down that road.  My hope is that other employers will follow this more ethical path.”

Kevin Cuddeback, Owner and CEO of Gimme! Coffee said: “I’m a proponent of people coming together to build a better world, and I look forward to working with the union toward the advancement of the company mission.”

A few highlights of the contract are:

  • A union “just cause” clause that protects workers from unfair discipline or discharge
  • A union grievance and arbitration procedure to resolve any workplace problems
  • Wage increases
  • Establishment of a paid sick day program
  • Monthly joint labor/management meetings

Pete Meyers, Coordinator of the Tompkins County Workers Center, issued the following statement: “We’re very happy for the Gimme! Coffee baristas of Workers’ United local 2833 for having the wherewithal to stand together and form a union within their workplaces throughout Tompkins County, and congratulate them on negotiating their first contract. We praise the management of Gimme! Coffee and its owner, Kevin Cuddeback, for responsibly being neutral towards the baristas’ desire to organize a union in their workplace, and for their good faith efforts in the negotiation process.”

Restaurant and hospitality workers, in general, interested in organizing a union should contact Gary Bonadonna Jr., Rochester Regional Joint Board at (585) 473-3280.

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For Additional Information:

 Julie Black
Communications Consultant
Rochester Regional Joint Board
jblack@rrjb.org
(585) 730-3915