BK Indie Coffee Shop Wins Union Contract, Paves Path for Cooperative Ownership
Independent Brooklyn coffee shop and bar The Daily Press has become the first independent cafe in NYC to win a union contract with Workers United NY/NJ. Through their unique union contract, workers have transformed the Daily Press into a cooperatively run cafe and bar, the first of its kind in NYC. All operational decisions are now made democratically, including scheduling, wages, vacation and sick time, and the members have also established profit sharing and a health savings fund, as well as important protections against sexual harassment and discrimination, widespread issues in the food service industry.
Baristas and bartenders at the Daily Press unanimously filed for a union in November 2022 and were officially recognized a month later when former bartender Joshua Thies purchased the business from the prior owner.
"Since the successful unionization, I noticed a significant change in the team. Folks have a
voice, autonomy, and the ability to make positive change," said new owner Thies. "They took on a lot of responsibility. The way they support each other, and me, is something to be commended. They make Daily Press run the way it runs and it’s downright inspiring."
"We're empowered now," said bartender Gabriel Caldwell. "Our contract is unique. We all meet once a month, and per that contract, we make all operational decisions collectively. We control our schedule, our wages, our vacation and sick time, etc. We have profit sharing and a health savings fund, all in a Union contract. The goal is to move towards cooperative ownership. As a starting place, we committed to cooperative operation. It's been amazing to grow together, and we are excited for the future."