Providence, RI – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 328, which represents 11,000 workers in a variety of industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, announced that the hardworking baristas, counter staff, keyholders and re-stockers employed at three (3) Seven Stars Bakery locations in Providence, Rhode Island, filed for their union elections. On Friday, June 10th, workers delivered signed letters at each of their locations, calling on the company to respect their wishes to unionize and to voluntarily recognize their union. Fifty (50) workers, representing an overwhelming majority of employees, signed onto the letters. The company responded and stated they are currently undecided whether they will accept the workers request for voluntary recognition. While the workers await a response, they filed for their union elections with the National Labor Relations Board.
The letter, addressed to Seven Stars Bakery owners Bill and Tracy Daugherty, reads:
“We, the dedicated undersigned employees of Seven Stars Bakery at Hope St., Point St., and Broadway, in Providence, RI, formally request Seven Stars Bakery to recognize United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328 (UFCW 328) and begin the bargaining process.
The greatest strength of the Seven Stars Bakery team is our genuine commitment to our coworkers and our communities. The common thread among employees’ favorite aspects of working at Seven Stars is that we have developed valuable and lasting relationships with our coworkers and our customers, building a real sense of community throughout and beyond the company.
Our goal as employees at SSB is to exemplify the vision, mission, and values as set forth to us by the Company. We respect and celebrate the strength of individuality and diversity across our teams and our commitment to working together to hold each other up, fostering integrity, community, and passion. It is impressed upon every new employee that the culture of Seven Stars Bakery is “created by the people who work here”. Without the passion and dedication of each member of our teams, there is no Seven Stars Bakery.
In the spirit of the values laid out by SSB, and in good faith, we respectfully seek union recognition. We ask that the company reaffirm their commitment to their values by voluntarily working with UFCW 328 to show that SSB truly is “proud that we are still true to the high standards and rich culture that were present when we first opened our doors.” We hope that we may work together to rebuild these high standards and rich culture while ensuring a more equitable and fair workplace for all.”
Izzie Cossey, a barista at the Hope St location shared, “We all love what we do – serving coffee & pastries to our wonderful customers. Unionizing is a step we are taking to ensure a better environment for our workers, which will strengthen the connections between baristas and coffee-drinkers alike. We appreciate the support everyone has given us, and encourage you to keep coming back to Seven Stars; you’re the reason we’re here in the first place!”
Charlie Saperstein, a barista employed at the Point St location added, “We care about our work, and we believe forming a union will be a benefit to Seven Stars. Like anyone else, we want to have a say in what our jobs look like, and our hope is that collective bargaining can help give us more autonomy.”
Charlie stated further, “Seven Stars management cut employees’ pay at the start of the pandemic and hasn’t given any indication of a return to pre-pandemic wages, even as they opened a new store and made plans to expand further. We want to see recognition from management that everyone who works at the bakery should benefit from our collective success. It’s also been really meaningful to see the support from the community since we announced our intention to unionize. I’ve never felt prouder to work at Seven Stars.”
Sam Marvin, Director of Organizing at UFCW Local 328, added, “We are proud of the amazing staff at Seven Stars for taking this empowering step. Together, they have made Seven Stars Bakery a staple of our communities. By forming their union, they will be able to address important concerns that will strengthen their workplaces and futures.”
After forming their union, Seven Stars employees will focus on addressing key concerns in negotiations including securing wage increases, reducing dependency on tips, acquiring benefits for part-time workers, creating more full-time opportunities, obtaining workplace protections, and importantly, addressing the company’s “on-call day” practices in order to provide better economic security and improved work/life balance.