Unionized Colectivo workers ratify first ever collective bargaining agreement

NOW: Unionized Colectivo workers ratify first ever collective bargaining agreement

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- On Wednesday, June 7, a historic deal was announced for hundreds of newly unionized Colectivo Coffee workers.

Colectivo and the union announced their first-ever collective bargaining agreement.

Three markets are represented: Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago. And nearly 600 employees are covered by the new contract.

Organizers say it's the latest step in a wave of unionization in Wisconsin that benefits both employees and their employers.

John Jacobs is the Assistant Business Manager at IBEW Local 494. He said, "We have the resources, the knowledge, the education, the tools to assist in negotiations. But it's the people on the floor who are going to sit together with us."

The process began in 2020. Now, more than 95% of unionized Colectivo employees voted to ratify a new contract. For the next two years, issues like raises and scheduling will be regulated and protected.

The Milwaukee and Madison locations are represented by IBEW Local 494.

Jacobs said, "They approached us. The workers approached us vs us knocking on the door saying, 'hey do you want to have a union?' It was the employees that approached us."

Jacobs said negotiations can sometimes get contentious, but in the end both parties ratified.

In a statement, Scott Isabella, President of Colectivo Coffee Roasters, said, "Colectivo has always been committed to being an employer of choice. This ratified contract is an expression of that commitment. Colectivo looks forward to working with IBEW Locals 494 and 1220 to continue delivering a great employee and customer experience."

And Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, congratulated the union, saying, "Congratulations to the workers of Colectivo Coffee who have just ratified their first ever union contract with the IBEW Local 494 and IBEW Local 1220. It has taken years of organizing, hard work and steadfast solidarity to secure this landmark collective bargaining agreement at one of Wisconsin’s most iconic coffee shops. Our community can continue to enjoy Colectivo Coffee knowing that the workers have a union voice and a collective say in their working conditions."

Jacobs said this new contract is part of a wave of labor organization that will continue throughout the state. "Maybe what happened today is going to get somebody else that may be on the fence, to move forward."

During the negotiations, another coffee chain from Illinois reached out to Local 494 for advice on organizing. Those employees have also since unionized.

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