Hex & Co Becomes First Unionized Board Game Cafe in NYC
Hex & Co workers made history this week, becoming the first unionized tabletop board game cafe company in NYC to win a union, in a landslide election victory (50-16). Workers at the store first established their demand for a union on September 27 when they presented a petition signed by more than 80% of employees to management.
Co-owners Greg May and Jon Freeman refused to voluntarily recognize their workers’ union and have also failed to respond to a public letter signed by thirty-five elected officials demanding such recognition. Workers instead filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. The owners engaged in an aggressive union busting campaign, spreading misinformation about unions in captive audience meetings and through individual conversations, as well as written material.
Hex & Co currently has three locations in Manhattan (2911 Broadway/1463 1st Ave/801 Broadway), including the largest board game cafe in Manhattan. In addition to Hex & Co, May is the owner of the Uncommons, Manhattan’s first board game cafe, and Freeman is the owner of the Brooklyn Strategist. Workers at both of those establishments also demanded union recognition with the support of the overwhelming majority of the workers at each location. May and Freeman immediately refused to recognize their unions, and so workers there have also filed for union elections.
“Winning our union means I don't have to listen to management try to convince me that I shouldn't have rights anymore," said worker Joseph Valle Hoag. "It means that the false rumors they have spread about me and the organizing committee can stop and It means my coworkers and I will finally be treated with the respect we deserve in the workplace.” Unionization efforts by Hex & Co workers as well as the Uncommons and Brooklyn Strategist are led in collaboration with Workers United NY/NJ, a joint board of Workers United.