MISSOULA – Employees at a Missoula coffee shop have joined a trend that is hitting many businesses across the country by voting "yes" to unionizing.
Employees working for corporate giants like Amazon and Starbucks are voting to unionize. And just a few days ago, Black Coffee Roasting Company employees in Missoula passed their vote to unionize.
The push for a union came this spring when employees bargained for higher wages. Management agreed to bump their pay from $10 an hour to $13 an hour. They also agreed to offer employees paid time off.
For employees, the success of their collective bargaining led to a bigger conversation about the possibility of forming an independent union. And is a 7-to-2 vote, the union – called the Third Wave Workers of Missoula – was passed by employees.
Sometime in the next few days, they’ll be officially recognized as a union by the National Labor Relations Board. Employees told MTN News that the energy is high among both workers and customers.
“It feels great, it really does feel like we’re part of something larger in that sense. Nationally, things are out of check with large corporations, but locally things are out of check with our industry in general, rent and everything, just the pressures we have right now are pretty intense, and we do hope that this carries to other people, and people who feel like they’re in a pinch can rely on their coworkers and themselves to make things better.” - Third Wave Workers of Missoula union member Keefe Farr.
The next step for Third Wave Workers of Missoula will be negotiating a contract with their employer. The employees say they want a seat at the table when discussing wages, sick time, and other decisions that impact their lives – especially as the cost of living in Missoula rises.