Heine Brothers’ Coffee workers file charges against company for anti-union ‘retaliation’

Workers with Heine Brothers Coffee announced their intent to unionize after claiming the...
Workers with Heine Brothers Coffee announced their intent to unionize after claiming the company attempted to retaliate and stop union activity.(WAVE News)
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 7:55 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Workers with Heine Brothers Coffee announced their intent to unionize after claiming the company attempted to retaliate and stop union activity.

On Thursday, workers announced they filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against Heine Brothers’ Coffee and filed to officially be recognized as a union.

The charges stem from alleged retaliation against union activity by closing the Douglass Loop store and transferring those employees to other stores.

Employees state the company asked workers about union activity, provided false statements about forming unions and discouraged union support.

Heine Brothers Coffee previously provided a statement saying the Douglass Loop location was closing after more than 21 years to focus on locations with drive-thrus.

“We’ve had a great run at the Douglass Loop and are now turning our attention to operating drive-thru coffee shops,” Mike Mays, co-founder and president of Heine Brothers’ said in a statement. “Even before the pandemic drive-thrus were becoming a store feature that our customers demanded more and more, now they are something we must have to stay competitive. All of our new stores have drive-thrus, including our first drive-thru-only store that will open this fall at 7701 Bardstown Road in Fern Creek. We’re excited to turn the Douglass Loop space over to our friends at TEN20, a terrific local company that will be a great fit for the neighborhood, and we’re delighted that Heine Brothers’ Coffee will be available at TEN20′s planned coffee bar.”

The company said all current employees of the Douglass Loop store an opportunity to transfer to another store or receive a severance benefit.

The Heine Brothers Workers Union is being organized through the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers SEIU 32BJ labor union.

Once the request for election to be recognized as a union is filed, the National Labor Relations Board will decide on an election date for the union.

The company said in a statement they respect employees’ legal rights, including the right to support or oppose union organization.

“We respect our employees’ legal rights, including their right to support or oppose union organizing,” the statement reads. “It is not unusual for employees and the unions backing them to file labor charges as part of an organizing campaign. The allegations are untrue and we intend to defend the Company’s legal rights. Heine Brothers is a homegrown company founded on the principles of fairness and doing the right thing. We listen and respond to all of our employees, many of whom have been with us for years.  None of that has changed.  We’re committed to continuing to deliver remarkable coffee shop experiences to our customers, and keeping our stores healthy and positive places to work.  We’d like to say more but this is an ongoing legal issue.”

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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