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Spyhouse Coffee Workers Announce Intent To Unionize

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The workers at another popular Twin Cities establishment have announced their intent to unionize.

The employees of Spyhouse Coffee announced Thursday they would unionize under Unite Here! Local 17.

"The people working on the front lines in the cafes are not feeling protected," Spyhouse Coffee employee Grace Erpenbach said. "Our voices are not being heard."

At a press conference Thursday, Spyhouse Coffee employees cited a difficult year full of new workplace hazards and uncertainty in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers complained about extended hours and disagreements over serving customers not wearing masks.

"The issues have become more immediate around the pandemic in terms of safety but also the climate in terms of enough is enough and we want a voice," University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management professor of work and organizations John Budd said.

Spyhouse is the most recent in a string of Twin Cities drinking and eating establishments that have unionized over the summer, including Tattersall Distilling and Fair State Brewing.

Reactions by management have been mixed.

When workers at Lawless Distilling Company and Stilheart Distillery and Cocktail Lounge announced their plans to unionize, management immediately recognized the unions.

When Surly workers said they would form a union last week, two days later management announced the brew hall would close indefinitely. Management said that decision was made weeks before the employees' announcement.

Professor Budd says management either has to voluntarily recognize a worker's union, or they have to go through a process with the National Labor Relations Board which takes time and resources.

RELATED: Map Of Restaurants In The Twin Cities Metro Area That Have Closed Since COVID-19

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