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Spot Coffee workers vote in favor of joining a union

The vote involves Spot locations at Hertel, Elmwood, Williamsville and Delaware Avenue
Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 01:06:01-04

Spot Coffee workers have now voted in favor of joining a union.

They cast their votes Tuesday, after three employees were fired for attempting to unionize three months ago. When the results were announced, 43 employees voted "yes" and just six voted "no."

"To say it's pivotal is an understatement," said Philip Kneitinger, who was fired after trying to form a union. We've sat around, we've watched Spot erode the respect and dignity that we've seen at our job, you know the rights that we've had as employees over the years."

The vote was held by the National Labor Relations Board at their regional office downtown.

Kneitinger said he and the two workers who were fired filed charges with the NLRB to get their jobs back.

Lead organizer with Workers United Jaz Brisack said it's important workers in the restaurant and service industry have unions.

"Young folks are expected to work very long hours at demanding jobs for very little pay and without the dignity and respect that all workers should be getting," she said.

"We have erratic, unusual schedules. We deserve consistency, respect and decency in the workplace," said Spot Coffee worker Kay Kennedy. "We put in a good day's work. We get you guys your coffee, we are skilled, we're kind, we handle emotional labor of customers, we are on call usually."

Spot employees will now join Workers United and negotiate a union contract with Spot Coffee and seek reinstatement of the three workers.

"We see that a union is a way for us to bring power to ourselves, and to make sure that we're being treated fairly at work," said Kneitinger.

The vote involves Spot locations at Hertel, Elmwood, Williamsville and Delaware Avenue.

The results were announced at the Niagara Center Federal Building.

We reached out to Spot Coffee for a comment but have not heard back.