Workers' co-ops in Canada gaining power, voice and stability

For the past year few months, I have been following the story of Glitter Bean Café in Halifax. Baristas have helped build a unionized co-operative, with SEIU Local 2 as the union. The Glitter Bean is a café, a safe space for LGBTQ youth in Halifax, and a part of the baristas working to improve their lives and those of others.  

Their struggle started in 2013 when baristas working for Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op, one of Canada's first fair trade workers' co-operatives, started their fight for unionization. In 2017, Just Us! then sold its Halifax locations to another company called Smiling Goat, which was found to have not paid employees and suppliers. After Smiling Goat moved to shut down all six of its cafés, the former Smiling Goat baristas worked with allies and the union to start Glitter Bean. Their campaign is an illustrative story about working with both unions and the co-op model to stand for your values, improve your workplace, save your job and have a voice at work.

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