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Surly Brewing, employees will vote on whether to form a union

Conversations between the brewery and the union have been "productive."

Surly Brewing and some of its employees will hold a vote on whether to form a union, according to Minnesota's hospitality union and Surly Brewing management.  

Earlier this month, employees at Surly's destination beer hall announced their intent to unionize. But days later, Surly said it would be closing its destination beer hall in November, where these employees work, until further notice due to the pandemic.

That prompted Unite Here 17, the union Surly's employees intend to join, to file an unfair labor practice charge, saying it would fight Surly's decision to close

Now, in the wake of Surly management agreeing to a "fair election process" that Surly's employees support, the union has withdrawn its unfair labor practice charge "in the interest of moving forward and working together," Unite Here 17 said in a series of tweets on Thursday.

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"We do understand the financial predicament faced by restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that employ members of our union stemming from COVID-19," the tweets said. "Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, we are committed to winning this election and our union."

Surly's beer hall, though, will still close, putting the workers out of a job until it reopens – whenever that may be. 

In a statement to BMTN, Tiffany Jackson of Surly said:

"After weeks of productive conversations with Unite Here’s representatives, we’re happy to say we’ve reached an agreement on election terms. The union recognizes the financial and operational challenges Surly has faced since the start of the pandemic. The union has withdrawn the unfair labor practice charge alleging that closing the beer hall was related to its organizing efforts. We, the union and Surly, agree to support a free and fair election so that everyone can make the right decision for themselves."

Surly's employees' intent to form a union comes as several other groups of workers, both in the hospitality industry and others, have announced intents to form unions or have done so. Among them: Fair State Brewing Co-op, Stilheart and Lawless distilling, Spyhouse Coffee, and The Current and Classical MPR

BMTN has reached out to Unite Here 17 for more information.

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