Amid a change in ownership and organization, a group claiming to represent the workers of Little Dog Coffee Shop in Brunswick is rallying for unionization. In an open letter posted to Instagram, the group addressed owner Larry Flaherty directly and detailed their reasons for forming a union.
The letter, delivered to Flaherty on Monday, cites a high turnover rate, a perceived lack of transparency from ownership as well as the implementation of operational changes without proper training as the primary reasons for unionization.
These issues, the group claims, can only be solved through a union.
“Many of us grew up getting breakfast here with our families … we have seen what works and what doesn’t for this coffee shop,” the group wrote. “We must foster an environment with equal power to create meaningful change.”
In its unionization efforts, the group has chosen to organize with Workers United, an American and Canadian labor union representing food service workers. According to the open letter’s caption, the group has already filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board and plans on conducting an election in the coming weeks and months.
The call to unionize has been met with confusion by Little Dog’s ownership. Flaherty, who acquired the shop eight weeks ago, said he was surprised by the workers’ intent to unionize.
“I’ve always cared for my employees; I don’t see why they need a union,” Flaherty said. “It’s still a big question mark.”
Although he doesn’t understand it, Flaherty says he hopes to learn more about their grievances in the days to come.
“I don’t support, nor not support the union. I just don’t know enough about it and the rationale behind it,” he said. “I hope I can work with the employees to find out what the issues are.”
Efforts to reach the group claiming to represent Little Dog workers have been unsuccessful.