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Attempt to unionize at Surly Brewing fails by a single vote

Unite Here Local 17 announced on Twitter that the action failed by one vote.

Efforts by Surly Brewing employees to unionize suffered a blow after a vote failed on Wednesday.

Unite Here Local 17, a local hospitality union, announced via Twitter that employees were one vote shy of unionizing. While a majority of employees that voted supported unionizing, not enough employees voted, according to the union.

It's believed that 56 voted in favor of unionizing, 20 voted against it, while 36 abstained. That left employees one short of the majority needed to pass the vote.

“Over the next few days workers will decide what they think is the best way forward but we know that the plight of the worker does not stop with 1 vote. Surly workers will keep fighting in solidarity with each other,” a tweet from Unite Here Local 17 reads.

Surly employees originally announced their intent to unionize under Unite Here Local 17 earlier this fall. Shortly after the announcement, Surly announced it would close its beer hall indefinitely in November due to financial challenges brought on by COVID-19.

Union and local leaders called the action intimidation. Surly has stated the timing of the closure was not impacted by the unionization announcement.

In a statement, Surly said it still plans to close the beer hall on Nov. 2. Surly beer will still be available at the brewery’s distribution partners, including bars and liquor stores.

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“Surly Hospitality employees have completed their free and fair election on the issue union representation, which was conducted by an independent third party. A majority of the eligible employees did not cast their ballots in favor of representation by the union,” Surly said in a statement.

“The results do not affect the Beer Hall’s stark financial reality that led to the plan and the need to close indefinitely.”

After an employee tested positive for COVID-19, Surly announced this week that it will also temporarily close its beer hall through Oct. 13. 

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