Labour complaint filed over recent layoffs at Java Blend

An Unfair Labour Practice complaint has been filed with the Nova Scotia Labour Board after nine employees of a local coffee maker were laid off last week, according to a union.

The complaint, filed by SEIU Local 2, is accusing Java Blend of “terminating union organizers in retaliation for organizing a union in their workplace”.

The union said four of the nine employees terminated by the company were organizers of a union drive. According to the union, employees from all of Java Bend’s cafe locations took part in a Labour Board certification vote last June.

“Eight months later, however, the ballot box remains sealed because the employer raised objections as to whom should be allowed to be members of the Union,” read a news release from SEIU Local 2.

In a statement to CityNews on Wednesday, one of Java Blend’s owners, Alex Lee, said the layoffs were a financial necessity as the company has struggled since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Layoffs were a financial necessity and in no way related to the certification application,” Lee wrote. “The decision was the only way to avoid closing our café doors permanently so we can continue serving customers in a sustainable way.”

Lee said the company would “fully respond” once it recieved the complaint from the union.

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