Mere months after their staff unionized at their four stores, the owners of Michigan’s Mighty Good Coffee are calling it quits.
ANN ARBOR, MI—In October, after an allegation of racism angered employees of Mighty Good Coffee, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) formed the Washtenaw Area Coffee Workers’ Association (WACWA) to unionize the company’s baristas at its four retail locations.
In late October, the company recognized the union without the formality of a secret-ballot election.
Since then, negotiations between the union and the company has been ongoing.
Then, shortly after the union filed unfair labor practice charges for “chronically short staffing their workers,” Mighty Good Coffee’s owners called it quits.
Last Monday, through their attorney, Mighty Good Coffee’s owners sent a letter notifying the unionized baristas that they were closing all four of their retail locations.
The rationale for the closure, as stated in the letter to employees, was simply worded:
“Nic and David [Mighty Good Coffee’s owners] have concluded they are not well suited to operate a retail operaton. They have found the experience to be overly stressful. It has created an workable burden on their relationship and their family.”
Following the surprise announcement, the unionized baristas organized a protest.
“We just found out yesterday our employers are laying us off,” Alec Hershman, a barista, told MLive. “Unfortunately, staffing was growing tighter and tighter and they reduced the number of people who would cover a shift. We’ve all been exhausted and overworked.”
Mandy Gallegos, 23, held a sign that read “Unionizing got us laid off. Are they really Mighty Good?
Mighty Good baristas are picketing on Main St — they’re getting fired for tryna organize! pic.twitter.com/oCC0zDILpP
— peter honeyman (@peterhoneyman) April 16, 2019
Since the layoffs were announced, it appears the WACWA Baristas are trying to move on.
According to a Facebook post, the group is staring to crowdfund and thinking about “an employee owned cafe and paid positions for furthering the power of service workers.”