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Boycott ends for Spot Coffee workers

Thomas O'Neil-White

Spot Coffee workers on Thursday announced an end to their months-long boycott and the beginning of negotiations between their union and popular coffee shop.

The boycott began in June when two workers were fired after management found out they were discussing forming a union. As part of the agreement, the two workers were re-hired and received back pay.

Five Spot locations are involved in this first round of bargaining, including the Hertel Avenue location where Kay Kennedy works. Speaking at Spot's Elmwood Avenue location, Kennedy said the agreement went beyond getting workers rehired.

“It’s more than just organizing these Spot Coffee locations,” she said. “This is the largest restaurant organizing campaign in the country, and we expect it to spread throughout the rest of Buffalo.”

Kennedy said workers now have a choice on whether or not their location will be union, and customers can choose to patronize a union affiliated Spot Coffee.

Spot Coffee Board Member R.J. Stapell said it’s a unique opportunity for both sides.

“We consider this a gift to us,” he said. “So that we can become better stewards of the relationships we have with our customers, our employees, and the communities that we serve.”

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

Stapell says the company itself is better served having gone through this experience.

No word yet on where either side stands at this point in the negotiations. Kennedy did say she expected a deal to be done by the end of the year.

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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