Workers announce plan to unionize at Surly Brewing

They join workers at Tattershall and Spyhouse Coffee among recent moves to unionize.
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Workers at Minneapolis' Surly Brewing have announced their intentions to unionize.

Employees at the craft brewery informed management of their plans to unionize, coming hot on the heels of similar steps being taken by workers at Tattershall Distillery and Spyhouse Coffee.

"Today, some of Surly's hospitality employees notified management of their intent to unionize," the brewery announced Monday.

"We're working on determining the next steps of the process."

The move was announced by Unite Here Local 17, which on Monday encouraged people to email Surly owner Omar Ansari asking that he recognize the union.

Union organizers claim many employees are working without health benefits and have seen their pay cut during the pandemic despite management adding a 15% service charge, saying they were "misled regarding the distribution" of the service charge.

In a press statement, the group said they had expressed safety concerns about the bar's new counter-service model before reopening to indoor dining in June, but it wasn't until Mayor Jacob Frey introduced an emergency order banning people from congregating and ordering at the bar that changes were made.

"In a time of uncertainty, our demands include open conversations and mutual transparency," the group said. "As dedicated employees, we deserve a say in changes that affect our compensation, health insurance, and employment. Unite Surly Workers is inviting leadership to recognize our unionization effort in order to create a more equitable and collaborative workplace."

Their plan has the support of 5th District Rep. Ilhan Omar, who tweeted: "Great news out of Surly Brewing Co., where the workers have voted to unionize! Every worker needs the benefits and protections that come from a bargaining unit. All our love and solidarity to Unite Here 17 & the workers at Surly for organizing so... Furiously."

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