The Look in Brief

Union organizers get pushback from Three Brothers Coffee owners

By: - March 8, 2022 6:00 am
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Three Brothers Coffee co-owners are pushing back against unionization efforts at the Nashville location on West End Avenue, potentially delaying the first unionized coffee shop in the city and forcing an election in order to be recognized.

TJ Wilt Jr., is part owner of the shop and sent an email to employees, obtained by Tennessee Lookout, after they delivered a union recognition petition letter on Friday.

“Please pick a time tomorrow that works to sit down,” Wilt Jr. wrote to the baristas organizing as Coffee Workers of the South United. “We will not be opening the shop again until this meeting occurs.”

Wilt later canceled the meeting with employees after learning a union rep would be present. The group had called for a public picket to show support for unionization but canceled the picket in an Instagram announcement posted yesterday.

Restaurant Opportunities Center United Music City organizer Paige McCay has been helping Three Brothers employees file for unionization and said it is rare to avoid an election. If Wilt Jr. does not voluntarily accept, McCay says the employee group is large enough to have a majority, and that they would win recognition.

“There’s a certain electricity in the air,” McCay said. “They’re ready to continue to move forward. The support from Nashville has been huge for them. We keep pushing the owner to recognize them as a union but they don’t need him to, because they do have the votes.”

McCay said community members who want to support the union effort can place to-go orders and include “union yes” in the notes section, or follow CWS on social media for additional updates.

As of publication Wilt Jr. had not responded to the Lookout’s request for comment despite email tracking software showing the message had been opened multiple times.


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Lonnie Lee Hood
Lonnie Lee Hood

Lonnie Lee Hood is a queer Nashville-based writer covering justice, LGBTQ issues and more. They are an amateur roller-skater and live with their hedgehog, Noodle, and three-legged cat, Tom. They are writing a debut novel and have published poetry and sci-fi/fantasy short stories.