DIA stops selling Great Lakes Coffee amid barista strike | Metro Detroit News | Detroit

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  • Steve Neavling
  • The Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts food service provider will stop selling coffee from the Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. in solidarity with striking baristas and chefs.

Twenty employees of the local coffee chain have been on strike since February 16 to demand better wages and insurance, COVID-19 protocols and anti-discrimination protection.

The DIA’s food service provider, Culinaire, decided to use a new coffee supplier from Tuesday.

The striking workers, who use Comrades in Coffee, said they hope other institutions will follow.

“On behalf of the twenty ‘Comrades in Coffee’ fighting for a better industry at Great Lakes Coffee and in the coffee shops of Metro Detroit – we would like to thank the Detroit Institute of Arts for showing solidarity with our fight and agreeing to switch coffees suppliers,” they said in a statement Monday. “As you walk into the beautiful DIA, one of the first works you notice is the legendary Diego Rivera mural – a tribute to the working class. The DIA has made a brave and important decision to support our struggle, positioning the art museum on the right side of history, while proudly continuing the spirit of Detroit, represented in Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals as modern workers organizing themselves. for greater and better labor movement. We hope that other important Metro Detroit institutions, such as the Detroit Zoo, choose to make the right decision today alongside the DIA and join our growing movement.”

UNITE HERE Local 24 filed a lawsuit against Great Lakes Coffee on behalf of the striking workers on February 25 for unfair labor practices.

The striking workers use Local 24 as their designated negotiating representative.

The striking workers filed for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board on March 16.

They demand a fair contract with union representatives; an initial wage of at least $15 per hour; COVID-19 protocols; protection against harassment and discrimination; affordable health, dental, and facial insurance; and paid leave, including sick days and parental leave.

In January, Great Lakes Coffee’s Midtown store closed after employees said a lack of COVID-19 protocols led to an outbreak of the virus. Nine employees and managers became infected.

The strike follows similar actions by Starbucks employees trying to unite across the country, including workers at multiple Starbucks locations in Michigan.

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