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Java Blend workers ratify collective agreement

Java Blend in Halifax is pictured. (Sean Mott/CTV News Atlantic) Java Blend in Halifax is pictured. (Sean Mott/CTV News Atlantic)
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After a boycott, a labour practice complaint and a settlement, workers at Java Blend in Halifax have a collective agreement.

According to the Service Employees International Union Local 2 (SEIU), employees and the business reached an agreement on Thursday and it was ratified later that day. The new agreement includes:

  • paid bereavement leave
  • paid sick leave for part-time and fulltime employees
  • wage increases for every year of service
  • a reduced probation period for fulltime (now 60 calendar days)
  • a grievance procedure
  • improved overtime rates

“We’re thrilled to have reached a strong collective agreement with Java Blend,” said Diego Mendez, national communications co-ordinator with SEIU, in an email. “SEIU Local 2 members are looking forward to a fruitful relationship with the employer and helping make this business a success.”

Last January SEIU filed an Unfair Labour Practice complaint against Java Blend, claiming the business terminated the employment of nine people “in retaliation for organizing a union” in the workplace.

Alex Lee, one of the owners of Java Blend, previously said the layoffs were a “financial necessity” for the business as it struggled to recover from COVID-19.

SEIU organized a boycott of Java Blend in late April and reached a settlement with the business in late May, withdrawing its labour complaint.

“This was a really long journey,” Cailen Pygott, a member of the organizing committee for workers at Java Blend, said in a previous interview. . “We had so much solidarity, we kept fighting and we won. We won more than we could have imagined. If we can do that, then anyone in this city and province can do that.”

A previous news release from SEIU said the union’s bargaining unit included Java Blend cafés on North and Sackville streets, the Cortado Tasting Room in Bedford, and the production and roaster warehouse on Borden Avenue in Dartmouth.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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