Spot Coffee workers vote to unionize

Aug 21, 2019

A vote Tuesday went overwhelmingly in favor for the unionization of Spot Coffee workers.

With 46 “yes” votes to 6 “no” votes, workers from Spot locations on Delaware, Hertel and Elmwood avenues and Main Street in Williamsville became just the second barista union in the state. The vote comes after three employees were fired for attempting to unionize several months ago. That sparked two months of protests outside of the specific Spot locations.

Pro-union rallies have been held in front of various Spot Coffee locations this summer.
Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Lukas Weinstein, who worked at the Williamsville location, was one of three employees fired. Feeling unjustly let go, Weinstein says they sought action.

“We filed charges with NLRB that week for all three of us and we’ve been picketing and protesting and calling for boycotts and holding press conferences,” Weinstein said. “As of yesterday, we are officially a recognized union.”

However, Weinstein said the battle is not yet over.

“Now our organizing committee, which is already in place, is going to have to be meeting with Spot’s lawyers,” he said. “And the next step is coming up with a union contract. It’s our first round of negotiations.”

Weinstein said he’s worked in coffee shops since he was 16 years old. The 28 year old said he’s amazed at how many people have told him being a barista is merely a gig and not a career. With the unionization effort off to a successful start, Weinstein said there is further proof in the value of his job.

Attempts to reach Spot Coffee for comment have been unsuccessful.