Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Union yes? Employees, be careful what you wish for.

On Jan. 7, Great Lakes Coffee Roasting in Detroit temporarily closed following a Covid outbreak that sidelined nine employees. It never reopened, and now it's closed permanently.

What happened? A labor union happened.

Five weeks after the temporary closure, the coffee shop's workers went on strike, demanding to unionize and negotiate a contract for higher wages and better, safer working conditions. A majority of the workers had signed authorization cards for a union, but a National Labor Relations Board-administered secret ballot vote had yet to occur.

Now, the store is permanently closed, and all of its employees are out of work, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Employees, be careful what you wish for. An employer can't threaten to close a workplace in response to union organizing. Nothing, however, stops an employer from closing without threatening. And if a business owner decides it's better off closed than with a unionized workforce? Well, that's just a risk employees take when they organize.