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Colectivo Coffee employees ratify first contract, union announces


Colectivo Coffee employees ratify first contract, union announces

Jun 08, 2023 | 2:07 pm ET
By Erik Gunn
Colectivo Coffee employees ratify first contract, union announces
Colectivo Coffee's store and management offices on Humbolt Avenue in Milwaukee. (Isiah Holmes | Wisconsin Examiner)

Nearly two years after a majority vote for union representation and more than a year after starting negotiations, employees of Colectivo Coffee Roasters in Milwaukee ratified a first union contract with the company this week.

The agreement covers employees at Colectivo’s 15 outlets in Wisconsin and Illinois and includes provisions for raises, improved paid time off policies, new schedule policies and joint labor-management programs at the business, according to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the union representing Colectivo employees. The union said that 95% of the members voted to approve the contract.

“This contract ratification is the culmination of the efforts of hundreds of workers over the past three years,” said Hilary Laskonis, a Milwaukee Colectivo employee who with coworkers launched the organizing drive in 2020, in a statement distributed by the union. She credited coworkers, the IBEW and “the vocal support of thousands of customers and members of the community” for the outcome.

In addition to across-the-board raises, the agreement includes additional paid holidays, sick leave hours and better paid time off accrual rates, a union representative said. There are also new guaranteed minimum shift times for scheduled employees, new break policies, a new schedule posting policy and required rest periods between shifts.

The contract also includes provisions that recognize the union as an institution. Those include a joint labor-management safety committee and a schedule for regular labor-management meetings, a grievance and arbitration procedure and language that requires just cause for terminations as well as layoff and recall procedures, according to the IBEW.

The agreement makes Colectivo the largest coffee chain in the country with an active union contract. 

The national Starbucks Coffee chain is the subject of hundreds of union organizing drives nationwide that have been conducted at individual outlets rather than corporate-wide, and have not yet led to first contracts at any of the sites where workers have voted for union representation.