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NS news: Java Blend employees receive new agreement

NS news: Java Blend employees receive new agreement
NS news: Java Blend employees receive new agreement

After a boycott, a labor complaint and a settlement, Java Blend workers in Halifax have a collective agreement.

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

  • paid bereavement leave
  • paid sick leave for part-time and full-time employees
  • salary increases for each year of service
  • a shortened trial period for full-time employees (currently 60 calendar days)
  • a complaints procedure
  • improved overtime rates

“We are pleased to have reached a strong collective agreement with Java Blend,” Diego Mendez, national communications coordinator at SEIU, said in an email. “SEIU Local 2 members look forward to a fruitful relationship with the employer and helping make this company a success.”

Last January, SEIU filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Java Blend, alleging that the company fired nine people “in retaliation for organizing a union” on the job.

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

In late April, SEIU organized a boycott of Java Blend and reached a settlement with the company in late May, dropping the workers’ complaint.

“This has been a very long journey,” Cailen Pygott, a member of the organizing committee for workers at Java Blend, said in a previous interview. “We stood together in solidarity, we kept fighting, and we won. We won more than we could have ever imagined. If we can do it, anyone in this city and state can do it.”

An earlier SEIU press release stated that the union’s negotiating group included Java Blend cafes on North and Sackville streets, the Cortado Tasting Room in Bedford, and the production and roasting warehouse on Borden Avenue in Dartmouth.

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