BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Following numerous protests over the termination of three SPoT Coffee employees, the call for workers to unionize will go up for a vote.
Leaders with the AFL-CIO say two employees in Buffalo were released from the company after attempting to organize a union. One of them worked at SPoT’s Hertel Ave. location and the other worked for the Elmwood Ave. cafe.
A manager was additionally fired after refusing to give the names of workers who attended a union meeting.
Following this, protests ensued at different SPoT locations, calling the firings unfair.
The fruits of the protesters’ efforts have become evident, as it was announced on Friday that SPoT employees have signed up a majority of their co-workers at four locations on union cards, and petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election.
Workers at the SPoT locations on Hertel, Delaware and Elmwood avenues in Buffalo, and the one on Main St. in Williamsville, will participate in the election.
One of the fired workers, Phoenix Cerny, says “We still plan on holding the company accountable for their anti-union actions and will continue our fight until they apologize and make the appropriate remedies for what they’ve done to the workers of their company.”
If most of the workers vote yes, the new union would be certified by the federal government. In turn, this would allow employers and the union to negotiate an agreement over wages, benefits and workplace policies.
Not to mention, it would be the first union formed for Buffalo coffee shop workers in more than 25 years.
Jaz Brisack, the lead organizer for Workers United, says “This vote marks an important and necessary milestone in building worker power in an underrepresented industry. Service workers are a critical cornerstone of the economy and workers should not have to choose between dignity on the job and a paycheck that doesn’t even cover the necessities of life.”