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Sunday January 19, 2020
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Mighty Good Closes Its Cafes

Exits follow labor strife.

by Sabine Bickford

From the May, 2019 issue

In mid-April, Mighty Good Coffee announced that it would be closing all four of its shops in Ann Arbor. The announcement was sent to the Washtenaw Area Coffee Worker's Association

(WACWA) by the attorney for owners Nic Sims and David Myers, just four days before the Main St. location closed April 19.

WACWA representative and Mighty Good barista Mandy Gallegos says the baristas unionized in October in response to complaints of discrimination by a black employee. "We unionized just so we could create a good example and have equal rights for everyone in the workplace and a good contract for everyone," she says.

Then, in April, "We filed a ULP [Unfair Labor Practice complaint] ... toward them because we have been chronically understaffed for the past few months," says Gallegos. "We posted about it on social media and in turn we got an email ... from their lawyer, telling us that all of the locations would be closing, two of those--the Main St. location and the South U location--closing within the week, leaving the majority of our baristas without a job."

The letter did not directly cite the labor issues, but described the husband-and-wife owners as "not well suited to operating a retail operation. They have found the experience to be overly stressful. It has created an unworkable burden on their relationship and their family."

According to the letter, the South U spot would close a week after Main St., and the W. Jefferson shop in mid-June. The Arbor Hills shop will stay open till the end of August. Mighty Good is continuing to operate its roastery, which supplies several dozen stores in southeast Michigan.

WACWA members and supporters organized protests outside both downtown locations the day they received the letter, and Gallegos says they'll continue to post updates on social media with ways to support the baristas in the coming months. Mighty Good has shut down its social media presence, and a message to management went unreturned.     (end of article)

[Originally published in May, 2019.]

 



 
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