Game Over: Uncommons Becomes Final Board Game Cafe In Hex & Co Family to Demand Union Recognition
Last Friday, workers at the Uncommons, Manhattan’s first board game cafe, located in the West Village, demanded union recognition during a busy game night by reading out their union petition supported by the entire staff.
Greg May is a co-owner, with Jon Freeman, of Hex & Co, a tabletop board game cafe company that includes the largest board game cafe in Manhattan. Hex & Co workers have been demanding recognition of their union for more than a month, which owner Freeman and May have refused, instead engaging in an anti-union misinformation campaign designed to erode union support. The Brooklyn Strategist, owned by Freeman, demanded union recognition on Wednesday of last week.
From the workers' petition: "The gaming communities who attend our weekly events have grown only because of the employees’ ceaseless effort to ensure they feel welcome and valued here, and we as your employees would like to feel just as valued by our owner…we are consistently forced to look elsewhere for income to keep up with the steep cost of living in New York. To make working at the Uncommons more sustainable and maintain the retention rate of your employees, we demand that our work be recognized, and that we be provided with a workplace where we feel safe, valued, and respected."
The bargaining unit will include approximately eight employees, who are seeking a minimum wage of $22.50/hour plus tips, internal hiring for managerial positions, and for health and safety concerns to be addressed. Their demand for voluntary recognition means that all of the board game cafes owned by May and Freeman in NYC, including Hex&Co and the Brooklyn Strategist, are seeking union representation in collaboration with Workers United NY/NJ, a joint board of Workers United.