November/December, 2021

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

Over the past year we have accomplished a lot together. We have grown our union in major ways, strengthened our commitments to each other, and worked tirelessly to support each other in times of need. All of this is a testament to the strength of our solidarity. When we fight together, we win together.

Our hope is to continue this positive trend into 2022. This is not a New Year’s resolution. This is our mission every day of every year. As our newest union members from DBF Coffee Shops have said, “Unionization is our company’s best option & greatest hope to achieve sustainability, establish stability, & engage our entire community with care & compassion.” We will not stop until every worker has access to that same stability, care & compassion through a union.

Union strong! Union proud! Everybody – say it loud!

Contact Updates:

We’re updating all of our contacts so we can keep in touch! This will help with:

  • Pandemic updates
  • Contract negotiations
  • Mobilizing for actions
  • Hearing your feedback
  • And more!

If you haven’t already, Please click the link below to fill out our contact update form:

Vaccine Reminder:

Has it been 6 months since your last vaccine dose? It may be time for a booster dose!

As a reminder, everyone is eligible to receive their vaccine – you too! COVID-19 vaccines are free with no insurance needed. The process is quick, painless, and brings us closer to returning to normal. Please protect yourself, your family, and your community as soon as you can.

Click below to find a vaccine clinic near you.


Local 66L: American Friends Service Committee – Midwest

American Friends Service Committee’s Midwest management attempted to post a position opening as part-time for an hourly fellow. This position was formerly full-time and salaried with full health benefits and all of the rights of the collective bargaining agreement.

Once Union Stewards discovered this posting, they quickly met with management and enforced the contract. Management has agreed to restore health benefits to the position and will be clear future changes to vacancies through the Union to affirm that our collective bargaining rights are being implemented.

Local 69: NATCO

NATCO union membership demanded that the company negotiate over a newly implemented employee handbook. This handbook included issues not covered within the collective bargaining agreement, as well as restricted information being shared through grievance proceedings such as information requests.

After negotiating, NATCO management agreed to withdraw the handbook from NEJB UNITE HERE membership. NATCO also agreed to meet and negotiate with NEJB UNITE HERE before the implementation of any new policies.

NATCO will be issuing written notification to members of the handbook withdrawal. Management will be offering translations for future documents to membership in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Polish.

Local 406: General Dynamics

CONGRATULATIONS! Members at General Dynamics have ratified their new collective bargaining agreement which includes big wins.

Local 580: Sodexo – Bridgewater State University

Union representatives at Sodexo-Bridgewater State University filed an age discrimination grievance on behalf of a member. Upon the grievance being filed, Sodexo management reversed course and offered a vacant position to the Union member according to their CBA rights regarding seniority. This is a grievance that was won before it could even be heard!

Local 687T: Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense

CONGRATULATIONS! Members at Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense have ratified their new collective bargaining agreement which includes big wins.

Local 406: General Dynamics

CONGRATULATIONS! Members at General Dynamics have ratified their new collective bargaining agreement which includes big wins.

The New England Joint Board Podcast:

This month’s episode of the New England Joint Board Podcast features a conversation with one of our newest union members, Rose Souliotis. Rose is a shift leader at Darwin’s, Ltd., a local group of coffeeshops that recently organized with us this fall.

We want to be using the platform of this podcast to highlight the work that our members are doing. We’ll be hearing from Rose about what it’s like to work in a coffeeshop, how skilled this type of work truly is, and what it was like to be on the inside of a union organizing effort.

If you would like to have your work featured in a future episode, please reach out and let me know!

News Clips:

An 11-member organizing committee representing Diesel Café, Bloc Café, and Forge Baking Company penned a letter to their shared management team requesting them to voluntarily recognize the union and participate in good faith contract negotiations. The workers would be represented by the New England Joint Board UNITE HERE.

“Side by side with you, we have worked tirelessly over the past year to keep our cafes afloat amidst the seismic changes wrought by the pandemic,” the employees wrote to owners Tucker Lewis and Jennifer Park and chief operating officer Court Verhaalen. “Looking to the future, we urge you to see that unionization is our company’s best option and greatest hope to achieve sustainability, establish stability, and engage our entire community with care and compassion.”

In the months after Pavement UNITED’s win, other coffee shop workers have joined the movement to improve labor conditions.

In Cambridge, employees at Darwin’s Ltd. followed suit, unionizing in September. Fast forward to December, the baristas, bakers and other staff members of Diesel Café, Bloc Café and Forge Baking Company, or DBF, declared their intent to unionize jointly. A week later, Starbucks workers from the Allston and Brookline locations filed for union recognition.

For many of the company’s more than 9,000 corporate locations that are eyeing their own campaigns after tomorrow’s results, organizing committee members say a positive message will remain key for the next wave of fights. In fact, organizing committee members already networking with workers at several other locations across the country who have reached out for advice about how to unionize their stores. The union wave has already spread to the Greater Boston area, with three Somerville coffee houses recently announcing plans to unionize with the New England Joint Board UNITE HERE this week.

Labor organizing in the Boston area has gotten a hip makeover. Two local coffee shop chains, Pavement & Darwin’s Ltd., have had their employees vote to form unions. These baristas have been the unlikely stars of the progressive left in Boston this past summer: The media exploded after the news hit of Pavement UNITED’s efforts, while then-candidate and Councilor and now-Mayor-elect Michelle Wu promoted their cause as part of her campaign.

Pavement UNITED and Darwin’s UNITED are both affiliate members of UNITE HERE New England Joint Board. The board has been a longstanding union in the Boston area through multiple mergers, labor trends, and leadership changes, rising from the remnants of needleworkers and most recently hotel workers. Lost in their efforts have been most food workers who serve you at restaurants and cafes, so much so that it has become a trope: the wayward barista or bartender, hopping from job to job with a restrained snarl and only gaining a higher tolerance for caffeine, alcohol, and tattoo ink while lacking substantial savings or, God forbid, a retirement plan. Yet what would seem like a sensible marriage, city-dwelling hipsters and unions, had been largely estranged in these parts until recently.


If you have anything that you want to see included in next month’s newsletter, please let us know! We want this to be a bulletin for all members to find value in.