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Blue Bottle Coffee Workers Vote 38-4 to Unionize in Boston

Blue Bottle coffee

Workers at all six of the Boston-area locations of specialty coffee roaster/retailer Blue Bottle Coffee voted 38-4 to unionize following a successful petition to the National Labor Relations Board.

Should Blue Bottle not appeal the election, the company would be required to bargain in good faith with the unionized collective, according to labor laws.

Some of the workers who now are part of the Blue Bottle union, known as the Blue Bottle Independent Union (BBIU), first sought voluntary recognition of the union among Blue Bottle management last month, before ultimately staging a walk-out affecting five stores. 

blue bottle coffee iced

The group maintains that Blue Bottle Coffee, which has been owned by multinational food giant Nestlé since 2017, has failed to pay cafe workers enough for them to meet their “basic needs” while also showing “continuous disdain for us as workers.”

“We hope that our obvious majority support will convince Blue Bottle that they need to pay their workers enough to live off of and allow them to have democratic ownership of their working conditions,” BBIU said in a press release this week. 

In a statement to to DCN, Blue Bottle said it plans to engage in good-faith negotiations while respecting workers’ rights to representation. 

“We value the dedication and contributions of our team members, and while we believe in our ability to address their needs directly, we respect their right to union representation,” the company said. “We are committed to engaging in good-faith negotiations. Throughout this process, we wanted to ensure that every employee had the opportunity to have a voice and make a fully informed decision. Blue Bottle consistently communicated that we would honor any election outcome.”

The company, which was founded by James Freeman in his Bay Area garage, has since expanded to at least 70 locations in the United States, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Mainland China.

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