Spot Coffee Workers Vote 43-6 to Unionize

Boycott remains in place until workers are rehired

Brendan Keany
August 20, 2019 - 9:25 pm

WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany

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Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Workers at Spot Coffee in the Buffalo area voted overwhelmingly in support of unionizing their workforce.  The vote tally Tuesday was 43-6 in favor of organizing.

"We were inspired by the Spot Coffee in Rochester unionizing and that made its way here", said Philip Kneitinger following the vote count.

Spot workers held widely attended rallies outside the Buffalo area locations in recent weeks and their efforts to organize were supported by the Buffalo AFL-CIO Council.  Workers at the coffee chain claim at least three employees were terminated from their positions as a result fo their efforts to open the door to unionizing the workforce,

Kneitinger tells WBEN the organized boycott of Spot will remain in place until all terminated workers are rehired.

The voting Tuesday may point toward a softening of the stance by Spot as at least two fo the fired workers, who voted, had their votes sealed because they were not active employees.

"At the end of the vote count the employer changed their position and allowed those votes of the fired workers to count which is a statement that theyre going to resolve at least two of those firings", Richard Bensinger told reporters following the voting. Bensinger says the move by Spot points to the likelihood that at least those two employees will be rehired.

Local political leaders has supported the workers efforts to organize and New York State Senator Tim Kennedy said, "today's affirmative vote by the employees of four Western New York Spot Coffee locations to form a union sends a resounding message: working men and women in our community will always stand up for each other. We will continue to fight for fair pay and benefits for a fair day’s work, and will not back down from the fight when challenged. Together, we will rise and protect workers’ rights."

Tuesday's voting was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board in Buffalo.

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