Compass Coffee workers announce union drive across America

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Compass Coffee strikers on the picket line in the Georgetown district of Washington DC

COMPASS Coffee workers have announced a unionisation drive across seven stores in America to end the chain’s no-tipping policy and improve benefits and working conditions.

Organisers said 84% of union-eligible employees at these cafes have signed authorisation cards to join Workers United.
This is a Services Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliate that has successfully organised over 425 Starbucks stores since 2021.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requires at least 30% of eligible voters’ signatures to qualify for a union election.
The workers also delivered a letter of intent to Compass co-founder and CEO Michael Haft.
Cameron Call, a Compass employee and organising committee member, said: ‘It’s important for any worker to have a union, especially in food service, which is an intensely exploitative industry.’
Upon receiving the letter, Haft said he spent the afternoon discussing the matter with his leadership team and has yet to decide on a course of action.
If Compass voluntarily recognises the union, the workers can bypass a union election.
Haft said: ‘Our team is critical to our success, and we are committed to ensuring that they are respected, supported, and fairly compensated.’
The union drive includes four downtown D.C. cafes and one in Georgetown, Spring Valley, and Rosslyn, Virginia.
The no-tipping policy implemented in March 2020 is a significant issue for the workers.
Although they were promised a corresponding wage increase, employees argue that it has reduced their take-home pay.
Current wages range from $18 to $27.50 an hour, and raises have been rare since the pandemic.
While Compass offers healthcare and paid time off, the company suspended 401(k) retirement plans for hourly workers last autumn and raised healthcare deductibles and prescription costs in March.
Compass Coffee, founded in 2014 by Marine Corps veterans Haft and Harrison Suarez, now operates 17 shops in the D.C. area.
Despite its growth and partnerships with notable entities like the White House and NASA, employees report issues with building maintenance, equipment, store temperatures, and a lack of an HR department.
Cafe workers nationwide are increasingly unionising for better conditions, but they often face resistance from employers.
At Compass, workers are planning rallies and hoping for voluntary union recognition.

  • Members of The United Auto Workers union UAW Local 286 who work at Penske Logistics walked off the job last Wednesday in an unfair labour practice strike following the company’s refusal to negotiate a first contract in good faith.

More than 40 workers in the clerical unit of the El Paso, Texas, facility voted to form their union over a year ago and have been stonewalled by the company in their attempt to win a first contract.
Members are seeking fair pay, real paid time off, and better benefits, particularly health care.
‘I am on strike because clerical workers at Penske deserve a fair contract, and to be able to care for our families,’ said Juan Amparan, a Penske worker. ‘Health insurance is so expensive that my family hasn’t been able to afford to go to the doctor. This company treats us like we are machines and tools, but we are people.’
With a high premium and $6,000 a year deductible, the current option is so unaffordable that half of the workers don’t receive any health insurance.
Most workers make around $18 an hour, while health care premiums cost around $180 per week. Workers are pushing to raise wages to at least $20 an hour and are striking to bring company negotiators back to the bargaining table in hopes of reaching an agreement.
‘The company’s refusal to sit down with workers and hash out a deal with fair pay and benefits so workers can care for their families is unacceptable,’ said UAW Region 8 Director Tim Smith. ‘It’s time for Penske to get serious and negotiate in good faith.’
Penske Logistics workers are the latest UAW members standing up to win their fair share of the massive profits they produce. Last year, thousands of UAW autoworkers walked out on strike for six weeks and won record contracts at the Big Three automakers.

  • UNI Global Union launched its new report, Winning Rights: The Path to Empowering Care Workers Worldwide, at the International Labour Conference on Monday.

The report underscores the critical role of care workers and highlights the urgent need for reforms in a sector grappling with significant challenges, including inadequate pay, staffing shortages, and insufficient health and safety measures. These issues, if left unaddressed, threaten the sector’s ability to meet the demands of an aging population and effectively respond to future pandemics.
UNI Global Union recommends the implementation of tailored national strategies aimed at improving working conditions for care workers.
These include ensuring fair compensation, safe staffing environments, and proper training, while also upholding workers’ rights to unionise. The initiatives are designed to enhance the quality-of-care services, promote gender equality, and reduce inequality and poverty.
‘The care sector is at a crossroads,’ said Alan Sable, UNI Global Union’s Head for Care. ‘Recognising the invaluable contributions of care workers and taking concrete steps to improve their conditions is crucial.
‘This includes formalising their employment, providing adequate training and professional development, ensuring safe staffing levels for decent work and high-quality care, and guaranteeing their right to unionise and collectively bargain. These measures are fundamental to safeguarding and advancing their human rights.’
Key Highlights:
1. Formalisation of Employment: Advocates for the formal recognition of care workers, especially in home-based and community settings, ensuring better conditions through direct employment by governments or regulated private employers.
2 Training and Professional Development: Emphasises the need for adequate training and professional development to boost job satisfaction and care quality, citing successful programmes in Argentina and the Dominican Republic.
3. Safe Staffing Levels: Highlights the importance of safe staffing levels for quality care and reduced turnover, noting successful campaigns in the US, Canada, and Australia that led to legislative action mandating minimum staffing standards.
4. Global Agreements: Supports global agreements to protect care workers’ rights to organise and bargain collectively, with examples like a successful agreement with Eimis, improving conditions for thousands of workers.
5. Support for Migrant Care Workers: Calls for supportive policies for migrant care workers, including recognition of foreign qualifications and access to training, ensuring fair treatment and integration into the formal labour market.
6. Investor Engagement: UNI Global Union’s Investor Initiative for Responsible Care (IIRC) collaborates with institutional investors to promote responsible investment in the care sector, aiming to ensure decent working conditions and high-quality care services.
‘As we present this report, we call on governments, employers, and stakeholders to create a care economy that values and protects its workers,’ added Sable. ‘Together, we can build resilient and effective care systems that serve our communities and honour the dignity of care work.’
Ends

COMPASS Coffee workers have announced a unionisation drive across seven stores in America to end the chain’s no-tipping policy and improve benefits and working conditions.
Organisers said 84% of union-eligible employees at these cafes have signed authorisation cards to join Workers United.
This is a Services Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliate that has successfully organised over 425 Starbucks stores since 2021.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requires at least 30% of eligible voters’ signatures to qualify for a union election.
The workers also delivered a letter of intent to Compass co-founder and CEO Michael Haft.
Cameron Call, a Compass employee and organising committee member, said: ‘It’s important for any worker to have a union, especially in food service, which is an intensely exploitative industry.’
Upon receiving the letter, Haft said he spent the afternoon discussing the matter with his leadership team and has yet to decide on a course of action.
If Compass voluntarily recognises the union, the workers can bypass a union election.
Haft said: ‘Our team is critical to our success, and we are committed to ensuring that they are respected, supported, and fairly compensated.’
The union drive includes four downtown D.C. cafes and one in Georgetown, Spring Valley, and Rosslyn, Virginia.
The no-tipping policy implemented in March 2020 is a significant issue for the workers.
Although they were promised a corresponding wage increase, employees argue that it has reduced their take-home pay.
Current wages range from $18 to $27.50 an hour, and raises have been rare since the pandemic.
While Compass offers healthcare and paid time off, the company suspended 401(k) retirement plans for hourly workers last autumn and raised healthcare deductibles and prescription costs in March.
Compass Coffee, founded in 2014 by Marine Corps veterans Haft and Harrison Suarez, now operates 17 shops in the D.C. area.
Despite its growth and partnerships with notable entities like the White House and NASA, employees report issues with building maintenance, equipment, store temperatures, and a lack of an HR department.
Cafe workers nationwide are increasingly unionising for better conditions, but they often face resistance from employers.
At Compass, workers are planning rallies and hoping for voluntary union recognition.

  • Members of The United Auto Workers union UAW Local 286 who work at Penske Logistics walked off the job last Wednesday in an unfair labour practice strike following the company’s refusal to negotiate a first contract in good faith.

More than 40 workers in the clerical unit of the El Paso, Texas, facility voted to form their union over a year ago and have been stonewalled by the company in their attempt to win a first contract.
Members are seeking fair pay, real paid time off, and better benefits, particularly health care.
‘I am on strike because clerical workers at Penske deserve a fair contract, and to be able to care for our families,’ said Juan Amparan, a Penske worker. ‘Health insurance is so expensive that my family hasn’t been able to afford to go to the doctor. This company treats us like we are machines and tools, but we are people.’
With a high premium and $6,000 a year deductible, the current option is so unaffordable that half of the workers don’t receive any health insurance.
Most workers make around $18 an hour, while health care premiums cost around $180 per week. Workers are pushing to raise wages to at least $20 an hour and are striking to bring company negotiators back to the bargaining table in hopes of reaching an agreement.
‘The company’s refusal to sit down with workers and hash out a deal with fair pay and benefits so workers can care for their families is unacceptable,’ said UAW Region 8 Director Tim Smith. ‘It’s time for Penske to get serious and negotiate in good faith.’
Penske Logistics workers are the latest UAW members standing up to win their fair share of the massive profits they produce. Last year, thousands of UAW autoworkers walked out on strike for six weeks and won record contracts at the Big Three automakers.

  • UNI Global Union launched its new report, Winning Rights: The Path to Empowering Care Workers Worldwide, at the International Labour Conference on Monday.

The report underscores the critical role of care workers and highlights the urgent need for reforms in a sector grappling with significant challenges, including inadequate pay, staffing shortages, and insufficient health and safety measures. These issues, if left unaddressed, threaten the sector’s ability to meet the demands of an aging population and effectively respond to future pandemics.
UNI Global Union recommends the implementation of tailored national strategies aimed at improving working conditions for care workers.
These include ensuring fair compensation, safe staffing environments, and proper training, while also upholding workers’ rights to unionise. The initiatives are designed to enhance the quality-of-care services, promote gender equality, and reduce inequality and poverty.
‘The care sector is at a crossroads,’ said Alan Sable, UNI Global Union’s Head for Care. ‘Recognising the invaluable contributions of care workers and taking concrete steps to improve their conditions is crucial.
‘This includes formalising their employment, providing adequate training and professional development, ensuring safe staffing levels for decent work and high-quality care, and guaranteeing their right to unionise and collectively bargain. These measures are fundamental to safeguarding and advancing their human rights.’
Key Highlights:
1. Formalisation of Employment: Advocates for the formal recognition of care workers, especially in home-based and community settings, ensuring better conditions through direct employment by governments or regulated private employers.
2 Training and Professional Development: Emphasises the need for adequate training and professional development to boost job satisfaction and care quality, citing successful programmes in Argentina and the Dominican Republic.
3. Safe Staffing Levels: Highlights the importance of safe staffing levels for quality care and reduced turnover, noting successful campaigns in the US, Canada, and Australia that led to legislative action mandating minimum staffing standards.
4. Global Agreements: Supports global agreements to protect care workers’ rights to organise and bargain collectively, with examples like a successful agreement with Eimis, improving conditions for thousands of workers.
5. Support for Migrant Care Workers: Calls for supportive policies for migrant care workers, including recognition of foreign qualifications and access to training, ensuring fair treatment and integration into the formal labour market.
6. Investor Engagement: UNI Global Union’s Investor Initiative for Responsible Care (IIRC) collaborates with institutional investors to promote responsible investment in the care sector, aiming to ensure decent working conditions and high-quality care services.
‘As we present this report, we call on governments, employers, and stakeholders to create a care economy that values and protects its workers,’ added Sable. ‘Together, we can build resilient and effective care systems that serve our communities and honour the dignity of care work.’