The low wage service sector is one of the most difficult sectors for workers to form unions. The small workplaces’ lack of union tradition, high staff turnover and aggressive anti-union managers and owners in the sector have meant that most unions have stayed away from organizing places such as coffee shops.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia coffee shop workers at several workplaces have started to come together to try to transform the low wage, precarious work of baristas into something better by forming unions with the Service Employees International Union Local 2. Organizing in this sector is necessary if the union movement is to remain vibrant and relevant.
Here are a selection of articles about the union campaign in Halifax and a short video of a young coffee shop worker speaking out about the need for unionizing in her place of work.