In May, 22 non-management employees at New York’s Gimme! Coffee voted officially to unionize in what is believed to be the first union in American specialty coffee. And now, Workers United 2833 has officially been ratified.

According to the Cornell Daily Sun, ratification came via a unanimous 22-0 vote and covers all barista in Gimme! Upstate New York cafes—including locations in Ithaca and Trumansburg—but does not cover baristas in the three New York City locations. The three-year contract includes wage increases for baristas, the creation of a sick day program, and a “just cause” clause that requires management to have appropriate reasons to “fire or discipline a barista and a grievance and arbitration process to resolve workplace problems.”

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In a statement, Gimme! barista and driving force behind the unionization efforts Samantha Mason had this to say:

“Having a contract that protects me and my co-workers is only one of the benefits to having a union. For me, the most integral part of this has been to see how far my co-workers and I have come in building solidarity, in rebalancing power and having the courage to take action and create a better workplace. It’s important to me that all workers understand that they can change their workplace.”

Built into the contract was a renegotiation of wages in December of this year after Gimme! baristas found management’s wage proposal “unsatisfactory.”

It should be noted that the union has not been opposed by management. Owner and CEO Kevin Cuddeback stated, “I’m a proponent of people coming together to build a better world, and I look forward to working with the union toward the advancement of the company mission.”

For more information on Workers United 2833, visit Workers United Rochester Regional Joint Board’s website.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top photo via The Cornell Daily Sun

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