Graham Kilmer

Union Blasts Colectivo For Stalling Negotiations

Company files for a second review of the election won by the union in August.

By - Jan 6th, 2022 10:00 am
Colectivo Coffee, 2211 N. Prospect Ave. Photo taken June 3rd, 2015 by Michael Horne.

Colectivo Coffee, 2211 N. Prospect Ave. Photo taken June 3rd, 2015 by Michael Horne.

The union representing workers at Colectivo Coffee released a statement Wednesday blasting the owners for refusing to negotiate a contract, and instead continuing their effort to overturn the results of the union election.

In March, workers at Colectivo voted in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election. The outcome was a tie, after Colectivo challenged a number of the ballots it did not think should be counted. The NLRB later approved the counting of several of the challenged ballots which tipped the election in favor of the union.

Since then, the company has filed additional requests for review of the election with the NLRB. First with a regional office, and now the main office in Washington D.C.

Dean Warsh, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 494, said in a statement that the latest move was “just another delay and obstructive tactic to slow down and stop the will of their workers to form a union.”

“Twice now, it has been decided that the will of the workers was soundly expressed, and the objections have been overruled,” Warsh said.

Colectivo, with more than 400 employees, is the largest coffee chain in Wisconsin, and likely among the largest in the Midwest – excluding national chains like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.

Colectivo Owners, Lincoln Fowler, Ward Fowler and Paul Miller, have repeatedly expressed opposition to unionization at their company. They even brought in expensive “union avoidance consultants” that specialize in “maintaining the union free workplace.”

After the Colectivo workers won their union election in August, Colectivo released a public letter saying they were “disappointed by the election result because they believe a majority of workers did not vote for unionization.” They also said, “We will, of course, respect the rules and bargain in good faith.”

Now, nearly five months after the election, the company is asking for a second review of the outcome.

“We at IBEW Local 494 continue to call on the ownership and management to stop stalling and join us and the workers at the bargaining table to negotiate a fair and equitable contract,” Warsh said. “May Colectivo Coffee Roasters word be as strong as their coffee.”

More about the Union Effort at Colectivo

Read more about Union Effort at Colectivo here

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