December has been a big month for the labor movement sweeping across the specialty coffee industry nationwide. The unions representing both Philadelphia’s Elxir Coffee and Kentucky’s Sunergos Coffee authorized strikes in the past week in order to push for contract ratifications, and both have been tentatively successful to that end. And now, in Los Angeles, Go Get Em Tiger has filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to form their own union as part of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 45.
As reported by Eater LA, the union would cover over the over 100 employees at GGET and G&B Coffee, including retail workers, cooks, and warehouse staff. The impetus for the union, per a press release posted to the GGET Union Instagram account, is to provide more worker protections, including scheduling consistency, increased workload, pay scale, and to combat “hazardous conditions… and issues of racism, homophobia, and transphobia [that] are swept under the rug.”
According to the press release, the unionizing efforts have a 70% approval rate among the company’s workers. Organizers requested GGET to voluntarily recognize the union. In response, per the statement, the company hired attorneys Amy Moor Gaylord and Ryan Krone of Chicago and Houston, respectively, whom Eater notes have penned articles for their law firm Akerman, LLP about how to “keep workplaces union free.”
GGET co-founder Kyle Glanville provided the following statement to Eater:
This is all very new to us, so we’re learning as much as we can. We want to know what it would mean to work with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and we want to make sure our employees understand that also, so that everyone can cast an informed vote. Everyone at GGET is devoted to building the best workplace possible. While we’ve made a lot of progress recently, that work is far from done. We’re doing a lot of listening, and my biggest hope is that as many eligible employees as possible cast an informed vote to decide whether they want to do this work hand in hand, or through the IBEW.
If successful, the GGET/G&B union would be the largest coffee union in Los Angeles. The next step, if there is no voluntary recognition by GGET, is for an official vote with the NLRB to take place. As of reporting time, no vote date has been set.
This story is developing…