DC Coffee Chain Lists CEOs and Uber Lobbyist as Baristas to Halt Union Drive

Compass Coffee, a coffee chain in Washington DC, has been accused of hiring dozens of friends of management, including local food service executives and an Uber lobbyist, to defeat a union election scheduled for 16 July. Workers at seven Compass Coffee locations announced their intent to unionize in May 2024, with 18 cafes in Washington DC and northern Virginia and its coffee available in grocery stores throughout the area. Compass Coffee United accused the company of hiring 124 additional people at cafes that are attempting to unionize and manipulating worker schedules retroactively to make new employees eligible to vote in the union election.

Union organizing began more than a year ago due to ongoing issues at the company, including the elimination of tips for workers, unfair disciplinary actions, and broken equipment issues. The union has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against Compass Coffee over their conduct. The union intends to file numerous charges over the mass new hires and alleged retaliation workers have experienced since the union campaign went public.

Among the new baristas cited by the union are other local restaurant managers, including the Union Kitchen CEO and co-founder, Cullen Gilchrist. Gilchrist has presided over a tumultuous union organizing campaign over the past couple of years at Union Kitchen, a local specialty grocery chain in the Washington DC area.

Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Compass Coffee over the hirings in a post on Twitter, calling it absurd and disgusting to claim that a lobbyist from Uber & CEOs from other companies are workers in order to rig a union election. Compass Coffee United has also cited issues with an impostor account on X, which has copied posts from their union account and made pro-Palestine posts.

Compass Coffee’s owner and CEO, Michael Haft, stated that all employees at the locations petitioned are eligible and will stay in close communication with partners to ensure the most up-to-date list on the 14th. The workers are seeking to unionize with the SEIU-affiliated Workers United, which represents more than 450 Starbucks stores that have unionized.

Read More @ The Guardian

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