Colectivo Union Pushes ‘Reverse Boycott’ November 26-28, 2020

By Graham Kilmer – Nov 25th, 2020

The incipient union at Colectivo Coffee is trying a ‘more flies with honey’ approach to organizing this weekend.

It has called for a “reverse boycott” of Colectivo Coffee stores and products on “Small Business Saturday.” The goal is to telegraph to the owners that a union can be good for business.

Recently, Colectivo shut down two cafes, one in the Historic Third Ward, the other in Madison, citing diminished sales during the pandemic. 

The union organizers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 494 (Milwaukee) and Local 1220 (Chicago) which are backing the unionization, are calling for support of both the unionization effort and the business. 

The reverse boycott asks people to patronize Colectivo Cafes, and to indicate their support for the unionization efforts by putting down “IBEWstrong” along with their name when they order coffee.

Hillary Laskonis, one of the Colectivo employees organizing the union, said they are emphasizing that they do not want the community to boycott Colectivo. “However, we know that some feel uncomfortable patronizing a company that they know has actively tried to deter their employees from organizing a union.”

Laskonis’ father is Charles Laskonis, the IBEW state organizing coordinator for Illinois.

The union is in the midst of a push for authorization cards. These cards are signed by employees to show they approve of the union acting as their bargaining representative.

Employers can voluntarily recognize a union if presented with authorization cards signed by a majority of their employees. Or, as Colectivo owners have indicated they will do, require the union to file for a National Labor Relations Board election.

In early October, approximately 30% of Colectivo employees had signed an authorization card, according to organizers. But organizers said they want a solid majority of cards signed before they call an election. “We’re definitely closer now,” Hillary Laskonis told Urban Milwaukee this week.

Given the pandemic, this push for authorization cards is largely playing out digitally. Union organizers have been releasing polished videos and GIFs on their social media channels encouraging their co-workers to turn in authorization cards.

The organizers have maintained that part of their interest in unionization is because of their general support and love for the company. But they want to be more involved in the decisions that affect their day-to-day work. 

“However, management at Colectivo still does not seem to understand where we’re coming from,” Laskonis said.

Colectivo owners have been clear that they oppose unionization. They have sent letters to employees expressing their opposition, and have hired consultants specializing in “union avoidance” to meet with employees.

Colectivo told Urban Milwaukee the union avoidance consultants were labor law experts. In an interview with Restaurant Business, a foodservice industry trade magazine, Scott Schwebel, vice president of brand, marketing and retail for Collectivo, said the consultants were hired to counter “the false-misleading promises the unions are allowed to peddle to gain support in this process.”

Schwebel also said “unions can be great, but usually for long-term positions (like the trades).” He went on to add “They do not, however, have any skills or merit offerings in a service & hospitality industry like our coffee business, and transient employment cafe jobs get little or nothing in return.”

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More about the Union Effort at Colectivo

Read more about Union Effort at Colectivo here

Burlington, WI, November 30, 2020: Call To Action from Burlington Coalition for Dismantling Racism

Hosted by Sophia

The Burlington Coalition for Dismantling Racism will have a socially distanced, mask-wearing prayer vigil at:
Echo Lake Park
589 Milwaukee Avenue
Burlington, WI 53105

3 P.M.

We’ll then caravan in our cars past the homes of the Burlington Area School District’s (BASD’s) board members and superintendent to call on them to:

– Publicly denounce racism and bigotry
– Protect the safety of students of color
– Collaborate with the Burlington Coalition for Dismantling Racism for the adoption of a strong anti-racism policy / curriculum
– Hold those who perpetuate racism accountable

In the meantime, you can still contribute to meaningful change by writing letters, sending emails, and making phone calls to the Burlington Area School District.Remind them to keep their word by allowing BCDR to have a voice in the creation of an antiracism policy for the district. (This was promised repeatedly by Superintendent Plank, in writing). Remind them that an anti-racist curriculum must reflect the voices and concerns of the people who will mostly be impacted by them.When you contact them, express your concerns with the racism and inequitable practices that they are contributing to and upholding within their school district.

Demand and stress the importance of their moral and legal obligations to keep black and brown children safe.Tell Burlington Area School District to take action!

Send correspondence to:

Superintendent: Stephen Plank splank@basd.k12.wi.usBurlington Area School Board MembersPresident: Rosanne Hahn
Vice President: Kevin Bird
Treasurer: Peter Turke
Taylor Wishau
Susan Kessler
Barry Schmaling
Diane Wood

2020 National Day of Mourning

Hosted by Mahtowin Munro and United American Indians of New England (UAINE group)

Some of us will be in Plymouth. For everyone who won’t be there, the livestream and pre-recorded content for the National Day of Mourning on November 26 will be posted at the United American Indians of New England (UAINE) website (, at the UAINE facebook group, and at

50th anniversary National Day of Mourning 11.26.20 12 noon Cole’s Hill, Plymouth, MA (hill above Plymouth Rock)
E-mail: Website:

Masks Up!
An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many of us fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day. We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in action. Over the years, participants in Day of Mourning have buried Plymouth Rock a number of times, boarded the Mayflower replica, and placed ku klux klan sheets on the statue of William Bradford, etc.WHEN AND WHERE IS DAY OF MOURNING?
Thursday, November 26, 2020 (U.S. “thanksgiving” day) at Cole’s Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 12 noon SHARP. Cole’s Hill is the hill above Plymouth Rock in the Plymouth historic waterfront area.

Yes, there will be a march through the historic district of Plymouth. Plymouth agreed, as part of the settlement of 10/19/98, that UAINE may march on National Day of Mourning without the need for a permit as long as we give the town advance notice.

PROGRAM: Although we very much welcome our non-Native supporters to stand with us, it is a day when only Indigenous people speak about our history and the struggles that are taking place throughout the Americas. Speakers will be by invitation only. This year’s NDOM will have livestreaming from Plymouth as well as messages from Indigenous struggles in many homelands! Please note that NDOM is not a commercial event, so we ask that people do not sell merchandise or distribute leaflets at the outdoor program. Also, we ask that you do not eat (unless you must do so for medical reasons) at the outdoor speak-out and march out of respect for the participants who are fasting. Finally, dress for the weather!

SOCIAL: There will be NO pot-luck social this year due to COVID-19.

TRANSPORTATION: We have discouraged buses and carpooling this year due to COVID. If you cannot get to Plymouth, you can watch online!DONATIONS: Monetary donations are gratefully accepted to help defray the costs of the day and of UAINE’s many other efforts during the year:

FOR UPDATES: Please join and check the UAINE facebook group for updates on National Day of Mourning this year.

Our website will be updated, but not as quickly or frequently.COVID-19 has hit Indigenous communities very hard, and we want to ensure that no one gets sick from attending National Day of Mourning. Everyone must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose – no exceptions!