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Homegrown workers win election with Unite Here Local 8

By Zane Smith

Seattle, WA – On December 8, workers at Seattle sandwich chain Homegrown won their National Labor Relations Board election to join UNITE HERE Local 8, a food service and hospitality union. With a vote count of 59-11 for their union, workers clearly showed they wanted a seat at the bargaining table. This election, representing 130 employees at ten different cafes, came after a separate vote by distribution drivers at Homegrown-owned company Catapult NW, who also voted to join the union.

Workers at the company went public with their campaign this July and have been fighting for increased wage and benefits, better working conditions, respect and paid time off since. The campaign escalated over the summer with one-day work stoppages, pickets and leafleting of the company’s wholesale customers, bringing workers into the campaign and forcing management to give out raises.

Sydney Lankford, a member of the union committee said, “At our cafe, we’ve spent six months fighting for better ventilation and worker protections. I am not surprised we won our union with an overwhelming majority of yes votes. Workers everywhere need change – I am so angry and grateful to be a part of it. Let the contract fight begin.”

Throughout the campaign, Homegrown workers fought back against anti-union tactics by corporate. Committee member Kai Ortiz said, “Intimidation, bullying, every single trick management has will not be enough to crush the power we built. I’m excited for justice to be served for every single one of my coworkers.”

Looking forward, workers plan to win a contract that will guarantee safety, higher wages, respect and power with negotiations starting in the new year. Committee member Jamai Jackson said, “I am forever grateful for all those who stood in solidarity to fight when the boss retaliated.”

#SeattleWA #TradeUnions #newOrganizing #foodService