Nearly two years after successfully voting to unionize, workers at Colectivo Coffee have ratified their first union contract. Represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the contract passed through a vote with more than 95% of the total votes going in favor of it.
It has been a long, hard-fought road to this contract for the workers at Colectivo. It was a yearlong struggle before coffee professionals at the Wisconsin- and Chicago-based cafe and roastery to win their 2021 bid to unionize. They were at the time the largest unionized coffee chain in the country. But unionizing was just the beginning; contract negotiations would prove to be a much taller hurdle to clear. Meanwhile, Chicago’s Intelligentsia, also represented by IBEW, both voted to unionize and ratify a contract in the span of just four months.
But now with the contract ratified, the hundreds of Colectivo workers now join their Intelligentsia IBEW brethren in successfully collectively bargaining. From the press release:
“This contract ratification is the culmination of the efforts of hundreds of workers over the past three years. We could not have made it to this point without their bravery, the tireless work of the folks at the IBEW, as well as the vocal support of thousands of customers and members of the community. I am beside myself with gratitude for all of them this week. I look forward to what the future holds for those of us behind the counter and throughout Colectivo Coffee,” said Hillary Laskonis, Milwaukee area Colectivo Coffee cafe co-worker and original member of the Volunteer Organizing Committee of the Colectivo Collective.
There are currently 23 Colectivo locations a part of the union contract. The Milwaukee and Madison locations are represented by Local 494, and the Chicago cafes by Local 1220.