Colectivo Union Election Is a Tie Vote
The vote is 99 to 99. But 16 ballots are challenged, will require an NLRB ruling on them.
The result of the union election at Colectivo Coffee is a tie: 99 to 99. But 16 ballots have been challenged and will await an National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 494 has backed the workers organizing a union at the Milwaukee coffee chain, and would represent them should they succeed. Workers at Colectivo have been organizing since August 2020.
Both Colectivo and the IBEW are able to file objections during the election. It was not clear in the IBEW’s statement which party was challenging ballots.
Reached by Urban Milwaukee, Warsh initially declined to comment beyond the statement released by the union, saying “There are a lot of moving parts still and I don’t want to give out any false information.” Reached again later, Warsh confirmed a report on social media that the current tally is 99 for and 99 against.
He explained that there are 16 ballots that were challenged by Colectivo. At least two ballots were challenged for issues with signatures on the envelope, and the rest because the workers that voted are no longer employees of the company. The NLRB will next hold a hearing to determine whether these ballots should be counted.
When employees mailed their ballots, they put them inside of two envelopes. The first envelope has a box where the envelope is sealed shut, and the voter is required to write their name across the seal so that if it is opened prior to being counted it will be evident. That envelope is then put in a second envelope that is addressed and stamped. Warsh said there were at least two envelopes challenged because of issues with the signature across the seal.
“Today’s result…doesn’t mark the end, it merely marks a new chapter in the workers’ desire for better rights and protections at their worksites,” Warsh said in the statement.
The IBEW is proud of the Colectivo workers, according to the statement, and these workers hope their effort “inspires others in the hospitality/service industry to Organize a Union at their workplace!”
Colectivo is the largest coffee chain in Milwaukee that has attempted to organize a union. It may also be the largest in the country. Colectivo has 18 cafes in three cities including Madison and Chicago.
It is, however, not the first coffee company whose workers tried to unionize. In 2019, employees of Stone Creek Coffee unsuccessfully attempted to organize a union with the backing of Teamsters Local 344. They lost their election 52 to 38, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. In 2020, a small group of employees at Wonderstate Coffee in the Historic Third Ward successfully voted to unionize with the same Teamsters local.
As of publication Urban Milwaukee had not heard from representatives of the Colectivo company. The story will be updated if and when we do.
- NLRB Upholds Colectivo Union Election - Graham Kilmer - Mar 25th, 2022
- IBEW Local 494 Celebrates the Final Decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on the Colectivo Coffee Workers Successful Unionization Campaign Effort - International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 494 - Mar 25th, 2022
- Union Blasts Colectivo For Stalling Negotiations - Graham Kilmer - Jan 6th, 2022
- Union Bid At Colectivo Still On Hold - Erik Gunn - Dec 13th, 2021
- County Board of Supervisors Congratulate Colectivo Workers on Successful Union Election - Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors - Aug 27th, 2021
- Supervisor Czarnezki Calls on Colectivo Ownership to Bargain with Employees in Good Faith - Sup. Joe Czarnezki - Aug 27th, 2021
- Congratulations Colectivo workers - Milwaukee Common Council - Aug 25th, 2021
- Colectivo Workers Win Union Election - Graham Kilmer - Aug 23rd, 2021
- Colectivo Union Election Is a Tie Vote - Graham Kilmer - Apr 6th, 2021
- Colectivo Union Election Finishes - Graham Kilmer - Mar 31st, 2021
Read more about Union Effort at Colectivo here