Spill The Beans On Java Blend

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Updates

FEB 12, 2024

You can find the latest news in this section.

Thank you for coming to our public rally on Saturday February 10. Your support is appreciated!

There’s a Case Management Conference (CMC) scheduled at the Labour Board for February 23. A decision on dates for a hearing will likely be made at that time.  Workers are made to wait much too long to have their voices heard.

Voices

“One of the reasons we felt courageous enough to speak out and defend our rights is because of union support. Java Blend will say they are facing mounting debt, but from my perspective, [that’s] inconsistent with terminating staff at its most lucrative cafe on North St.”

—Cailen Pygott
Cailen had been working at Java Blend since June 2017. He was a barista supervisor and one of the four Union leaders that was fired in January.

To know that we have the community’s support in our fight for workers’ rights is truly amazing to see. As employees of Java Blend we have continuously done our best to serve our surrounding community, so it is an honour for you all to return that service to us.

Emma Cooper
Coop had been working at Java Blend since April 2021. They were a barista supervisor and one of the four Union leaders that was fired in January.

“Forming a Union was important because I deeply care about the well-being of my co-workers in the workplace. Over the four years I’ve worked there, I witnessed a lot of change in the company such as unfair scheduling and hours being cut.  We knew that forming a Union was the only way we could do something about these issues.”

Andrew Mawko
Andy had been working at Java Blend since December 2019. He was a barista and one of the four Union leaders that was fired in January.


“As a person living with disability, I value health and safety in my workplace above all. After seeing countless hazards go ignored by management despite employees continuously bringing them to attention and watching our health and safety committee slowly dissolve with positions left vacant for months despite having plenty of volunteers. We mobilised to form a union that would support our health and safety needs.”

Emily Kristensen
Em K had been working at Java Blend since October 2022. She was a barista supervisor and one of the four Union leaders that was fired in January.

TAKE ACTION!

Want to support Cailen, Coop, Andy, Em K and their co-workers? Send Java Blend an email.
The address and some sample text are available here.

Background

Workers at Java Blend Coffee Limited began organizing a Union at the workplace in early 2023. Java Blend is a roasting production and retail business that operates in four locations in the Halifax Regional Municipality including three cafes: Java Blend North Street, Java Blend Sackville Street and Cortado Tasting Room. The Roastery and production outlet is located at 30 Borden Avenue in Dartmouth.

Workers across the Java Blend company cast their votes on June 2, 2023 with the goal of unionizing with SEIU Local 2.

These ballots remain sealed to this day because of delays caused by Java Blend’s objections over which employees should be included in the union.

On January 23, 2024, nine café employees, including the four leaders of a union drive, were illegally terminated according to an Unfair Labour Practice complaint. 

On January 31, SEIU Local 2 filed an unfair labour practice complaint and announced its plans to fight what we believe to be illegal union-busting terminations.

Legal Complaint

The employer’s conduct has all the hallmarks of an orchestrated campaign of retaliation aimed at crushing workers’ rights, according to the legal complaint filed by SEIU Local 2 at the Nova Scotia Labour Board. 

ULP Overview

The Complainant, Service Employees International Union Local 2, Brewery General and Professional Workers’ Union (“SEIU”) alleges the Respondent has violated sections 53 and 58 of the Trade Union Act (“the Act”) by terminating union organizers in retaliation for organizing a union in their workplace. The Employer has enacted this retaliation under the guise of layoffs required to maintains financial stability. However, in doing so the Employer has terminated only twenty-five percent (25%) of the workforce, but a full one hundred percent (100%) of the Union’s organizing committee. Furthermore, the impacted workers, who are living paycheck-to paycheck, have been told that they will only receive desperately needed severance if they give up their rights under the Trade Union Act. For the reasons which are further particularized in this complaint, the Employer’s conduct has all the hallmarks of an orchestrated campaign of retaliation aimed at crushing workers’ rights.

As a remedy, the Union will be seeking orders that: all affected workers are reinstated, general and pecuniary damages to the impacted workers and the Union itself, declaratory relief, and that the Board’s decision be posted in the workplace.

SILENCE NOT FOR SALE!

In addition to their termination, workers were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement which would give up their right to any legal challenges.

At the termination meeting, “we were all then presented with a Non-Disclosure Agreement, which, if we had signed, would have provided additional termination pay, but also required us to keep all details confidential,” said Emily Kristensen, one of the terminated worker-leaders. “However, our silence is not for sale.”

In the News

  • All
  • Java Blend (9)

Former Halifax coffee shop employees hold rally after layoffs

Vanessa Wright – Global News Feb 10, 2024
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Laid-off workers at Java Blend in Halifax say ‘our silence is not for sale’

Bill Spurr – The Chronicle Herald Jan 31, 2024 / Feb 1, 2024
Read More

Union files labour complaint against Java Blend owners while workers organize rally

Suzanne Rent – The Examiner Feb 1, 2024
Read More
Cailen Pygott, Emily “Em K” Kristensen, and Andy Mawko. sitting at a table during a press conference.

Java Blend illegally terminated Union supporters, according to legal complaint

The employer’s conduct has all the hallmarks of an orchestrated campaign of retaliation aimed at crushing workers’ rights, according to the complaint.
Read More

Halifax coffee shop workers say they were laid off for trying to form union

Mitchell Bailey – Global News January 31, 2024
Read More

Union claims Halifax coffee roaster ‘illegally terminated’ 9 employees

CTV News Atlantic Jan 31, 2024
Read More

Labour complaint filed over recent layoffs at Java Blend

Mark Hodgins – CityNews Halifax Jan 31, 2024
Read More

Laid-off Java Blend staff say they were terminated for union drive, but company disputes it

Andrew Sampson – CBC News January 31, 2024
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Java Blend lays off 8 employees during unionization drive

Jennifer Henderson – The Examiner JANUARY 25, 2024
Read More