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Unionized Heine Brothers’ workers commit to new contract

Beige building with HEINE BROTHERS' COFFEE written in yellow letter, with DRIVE-THRU in white letters o on the next line.
Jacob Munoz
Heine Brothers' Coffee in the Gardiner Lane neighborhood is one of more than a dozen company cafes where workers now have new contracts.

Employees of the Louisville chain Heine Brothers’ Coffee ratified the agreement nearly a year after their organizing effort went public.

The company announced Friday that its workers voted to approve changes to wages and benefits.

The four-year contract covers employees at Heine Brothers’ roastery and more than a dozen cafes across the Louisville Metro area. It raises minimum hourly wages and sets automatic pay raises over each of the next three years.

Under the contract, a new barista will make $11 an hour in 2023 and $12.50 in 2026. The most experienced baristas could receive up to $13.50 an hour by the time this contract expires.

If a barista doesn’t average $4 in tips per hour, Heine Brothers’ would be required to make up the difference.

The agreement gives workers more paid time off, adds two more paid holidays and allows roastery employees to be paid on holidays they don’t work. It also states the company must create schedules based in part on seniority.

The union said in a tweet earlier this month that its members believed “this language will ensure full-time folks will have access to more hours.”

Heine Brothers’ and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, whose local union chapter helped organizing workers, said in a statement Friday that, “while negotiating our agreement over the last four months was hard work, at the end of the day, it turned out to be a positive experience.”

Alexis Hardesty, an NCFO spokesperson, said the contract affects about 230 employees.

The chain’s workers announced an organizing effort in April 2022 and voted to unionize in September. They’re part of a recent wave of retail, service industry and white-collar workers that unionized in Louisville over the past year.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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