On July 13, 2013, a rally of workers and their supporters from a Second Cup coffee outlet in Halifax was held alleging that management had violated Nova Scotia’s Labour Code. Participants alleged that three employees were fired for backing an attempt to form a union. A spokesperson from Local 2 of the Service Employees International Union said that six Second Cup workers would form a bargaining unit. “The goal in the end is to have a larger bargaining unit in Halifax”.
Workers at two Second Cup outlets in Halifax recently voted on whether to join the same union, although the Labour Relations Board has yet to release the results.
In June, workers and management at the Just Us coffee co-operative on Spring Garden Road agreed on a plan to unionize. This came after a disagreement over an allegation of employees being fired there which resulted in a complaint being filed with the labour relations board. The same union will represent both employee groups.
According to one media report, a national union has stated that coffee workers in Halifax are leading a push to unionize in what could serve as a model for baristas elsewhere in Canada. Workers are staying in these jobs longer and they are looking for a more structured work schedule, more security, and the perception that they are not just valueless workers.
The Human Element, just a different way to manage
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