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Sunergos workers ratify first union contract with company

Sunergos Coffee storefront with large windows and brick
Jacob Munoz
/
LPM
Sunergos Coffee on Woodlawn Avenue is one of the chain's five retail locations in Louisville.

Workers at Sunergos Coffee voted to approve a new four-year contract with the Louisville company. The decision came days after some baristas ended a weeklong strike in protest of a lack of negotiating progress.

In January, Sunergos employees voted 30-14 in favor of forming a union with the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, 32BJ SEIU, a local union chapter.

Late last month, members of the workers’ union went on strike to pressure the company to meet negotiating demands and reach a tentative deal after months without a contract.

Nearly a week after the strike began, 32BJ SEIU said the two sides had reached an agreement. In a press release last week, it said the contract included changes like “just cause” protection to prevent unfair firing and the elimination of wage caps that prevented longtime employees from earning higher pay.

The union also said the deal included a $10-an-hour minimum wage. Sunergos workers told LPM News last month they were aiming to increase the rate from $8.25 to $12 an hour.

Alexis Hardesty, a 32BJ SEIU spokesperson, confirmed in a text message Tuesday that workers ratified the contract last week. She added that the union doesn’t publicly share the vote counts on contract agreements.

Sunergos did not respond to a request for comment.

Workers at the company voted on a bargained contract nearly a year after forming a union. In contrast, employees at the larger local Heine Brothers’ Coffee chain, who also organized with 32BJ SEIU, approved a contract six months after unionizing.

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