Colectivo employees respond after successfully forming worker union

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A group of Colectivo Coffee employees responded Wednesday, Aug. 25, after their successful fight to create a worker's union.

This victory is just the first step in the process before the unionized workers actually sit down to bargain with Colectivo owners. Now, they plan to uncover what employees truly want.

"So much has changed from before the pandemic to now, that are going to really be diligent about serving our coworkers across departments," said Hillary Laskonis, a barista at Colectivo Coffee.

Laskonis is a barista at Colectivo and part of the newly-formed union.

On a broader scale, she lists working conditions, equipment maintenance, and proper sick time options as things the union will be fighting for.

COVID and vaccination concerns are also on their minds.

Moving forward, they say they'll be leaning on local labor experts and seeing how union employees at other coffee shops were successful.

"Now, when we go into a coffee shop we know we're vaccinated. Do our servers know that? Do they know what protections they have in the workplace, as we see the numbers rising again?" asked Pam Fendt, Milwaukee Area Labor Council president.

"This is not only a victory for the Colectivo workers all across Wisconsin and in Illinois, this is also a victory for workers everywhere who want to join a union," said Stephanie Bloomingdale, WI AFL-CIO president.

In an "open letter" to customers, Colectivo said it was "disappointed" by the union win writing, in part, that a majority of coworkers did not vote for the union and that some of the votes counted were from former coworkers who'd resigned before the vote.

After their vote is validated next week, the union workers say they will begin meeting and polling employees to help form their future negotiations.

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