LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Heine Brothers' baristas voted "yes" on unionizing Thursday night.
They announced it on their Twitter page Thursday, and it was the largest group to vote on unionizing in the metro in almost a decade according to union spokespeople.
Employees announced their intentions to unionize back in April, citing low pay and poor working conditions. Workers have also filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) lawsuit against the company, three weeks after the closure of the Douglass Loup location.
A company spokesperson said it offered all current employees of that store the opportunity to transfer to another location and a stipend to help during the transition or to receive a severance benefit.
Baristas organized in partnership with NCFO SEIU 32BJ, an established Louisville labor union.
Gami Ray, a Heine Brothers' worker, said winning the election meant so much after all those months where they were organizing and talking to coworkers to fight for the union.
"We owe so much to the generations of undervalued workers and the union organizers who came before us, and we are honored to carry on this fight in their honor," Ray said.
In a statement sent Friday, Heine Brothers' Co-founder and President Mike Mays said the company had hoped for a different result, but respect the decision.
Read the full statement:
“While we hoped for a different result because we do not believe third party representation is needed at Heine Brothers, we have said that we will respect the outcome of a fair and legal election, and we fully intend to do so. We are reviewing all the events leading up to the vote to make sure our team members had the opportunity to make an uncoerced and informed decision. That’s all we ever wanted. Regardless of how people voted, Heine Bros believes we truly have wonderful team members that want the best workplace possible. That has always been the primary goal for Heine Bros and it will remain so going forward.”