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Gold Coast coffee shop La Colombe barista votes unanimously for union

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The baristas at La Colombe’s Gold Coast Café voted 12-0 to unionize on Monday.

The Gold Coast barista became the first employee of a La Colombe coffee shop in Chicago to join the union. Their vote came after one of his employees at the company’s DC location voted to unionize in December, according to Labor Commission records. A barista at four of her five cafes in La Colombe in Chicago has filed for union elections with United Food and Commercial Workers International Local 881, which also represents grocery workers at Jewel Osco and Mariano grocery stores. .

4 Aspen Schucker, a barista at E. Elm St. Café, said workers unionized because they wanted higher wages and more say in staffing, scheduling, and other day-to-day tasks at coffee shops. He said it was because he wanted rights.

“Regardless of who we are, where we come from, where we live or what we do, we all deserve to make enough money to live here,” Shacker said. Said. “And that’s not happening.”

Schucker, 20, said baristas at La Colombe in Chicago make $16 to $18 an hour plus tips. Shacker said the company has raised prices over the past year, but despite the 50-cent hour pay raise, he’s earned less per paycheck because of less tipping. Other baristas at the cafe didn’t get raises, he said.

In a statement on Monday, La Colombe said it respects the decision to have the Gold Coast barista represented by the UFCW.

“While the results of the vote must be certified by the National Labor Relations Commission, we are a firm believer in a people-first work environment where each La Colombe team member is valued and respected. , we are committed to making you feel supported,” the company said.Said

Patrons of La Colombe chat at a coffee shop on the Gold Coast on January 23, 2023.

On Tuesday, baristas at La Colombe at 955 W. Randolph Street in the West Loop will vote to join the union, union representatives said. Elections at 858 Armitage Avenue and 5158 North Clark Street are scheduled for next week. The company’s Wicker Park baristas haven’t moved to the union.

Kayla Brad, a spokesperson for the National Labor Relations Commission, confirmed Monday’s vote numbers. Political parties are given five working days to challenge the election, she said. If no objection is submitted, La Colombe must enter into negotiations in good faith with the union.

The barista at La Colombe said Monday he was inspired by union initiatives at other coffee shops. Since January of last year, Starbucks employees in about 10 locations have voted to unionize. Collectivo Coffee and Intellicia Chicago’s coffee workers are affiliated with the Brotherhood of Electric Workers International and their union. Intelligent baristas ratified their first collective bargaining agreement late last year.

Elise Vazquez, barista at La Colombe, said: “To all who are unionizing at La Colombe, we are not just thinking about ourselves, we are doing something bigger. I think you’re saying that you’re thinking about exercise.

In addition to DC and Chicago, La Colombe has cafes in New York, Philadelphia, California, Boston and Austin, Texas. The company also sells coffee beans, cold brew coffee and canned lattes in grocery stores and other retail outlets.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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