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Spot Coffee workers vote to unionize

Mike Desmond

A vote Tuesday went overwhelmingly in favor for the unionization of Spot Coffee workers.With 46 “yes” votes to 6 “no” votes, workers from Spot locations on Delaware, Hertel and Elmwood avenues and Main Street in Williamsville became just the second barista union in the state. The vote comes after three employees were fired for attempting to unionize several months ago. That sparked two months of protests outside of the specific Spot locations.

Lukas Weinstein, who worked at the Williamsville location, was one of three employees fired. Feeling unjustly let go, Weinstein says they sought action.

“We filed charges with NLRB that week for all three of us and we’ve been picketing and protesting and calling for boycotts and holding press conferences,” Weinstein said. “As of yesterday, we are officially a recognized union.”

However, Weinstein said the battle is not yet over.

“Now our organizing committee, which is already in place, is going to have to be meeting with Spot’s lawyers,” he said. “And the next step is coming up with a union contract. It’s our first round of negotiations.”

Weinstein said he’s worked in coffee shops since he was 16 years old. The 28 year old said he’s amazed at how many people have told him being a barista is merely a gig and not a career. With the unionization effort off to a successful start, Weinstein said there is further proof in the value of his job.

Attempts to reach Spot Coffee for comment have been unsuccessful.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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