Union membership continues to grow in Louisville Skip to content

Union membership continues to grow in Louisville

More coffee shops join the union movement in Derby City.

2 min read

The union keeps rolling on in Louisville where workers at all five Sunergos Coffee stores and another Starbucks store have voted to organize, and where workers at a Trader Joe’s grocery will vote on a union Wednesday and Thursday, according to WFPL’s Jacob Munoz.

“We supported them in their successful union drives, and our support will continue as they seek a fair and just contract,” said Tim Morris, executive director of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council. “We’re proud of all these newly unionized workers in the metro Louisville area and welcome them into our union family.”

Sunergos workers went with the Sunergos Workers’ Union, an affiliate of the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers 32BJ/Service Employees International Union of Kentucky). The Starbucks workers opted for the Chicago & Midwest Regional Joint Board, the union behind the nationwide Starbucks United campaign.

Morris said the victories at Sunergos and Starbucks are more proof that Louisville continues to mirror a national union resurgence.

Three other Louisville area Starbucks stores unionized last year. Also in 2022, staffers at other Falls City coffee shops, a bookstore and a pizzeria voted in unions. So did truck drivers, public defenders, and newsroom staffers at the Courier-Journal, Kentucky's largest newspaper. A union vote at Trader Joe’s in Shelbyville Road Plaza has been set for Wednesday and Thursday, according to WFPL’s Jacob Munoz.

“WE WON OUR UNION ELECTION!! Now it’s time to bargain for a fair contract that includes living wages, transparency from our employer, and the dignity and respect all workers deserve #solidarity#UnionsForAll," the Sunergos Workers Union tweeted after the vote was tallied.

“About 57 baristas, shift leads, delivery and bakery workers, and others who were employed by Sunergos as of early December were eligible to vote in the election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board,” wrote  WDRB’s  Chris Otts.

Tweeted Jacob Munoz of WFPL: “Employees voted 30-14 in favor of unionizing, according to union reps. They plan to negotiate for changes such as higher base pay, better benefits, and more flexible scheduling.

“Their organizing efforts began in the summer and officially received an election date last month.”

On the same day that Sunergos went union, the Baxter Avenue Starbucks store workers voted 14-4 to organize.

“It’s such an energizing time for workers here in Louisville,” WDRB quoted a statement from Margot Mutter, a barista at the Baxter Avenue store. “I hope more people see this growing labor movement and take steps to organize their own workplace.”


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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

Arlington, KY