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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Surly Brewing Company announced Wednesday that a vote among employees to unionize has failed.
Workers announced their intent to organize via Unite Here Local 17 in late August out of health and safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A couple days later, Surly announced it would close its popular beer hall indefinitely starting Nov. 2, leading to accusations of union busting.
The company and Unite Here settled on election terms in late September, and the union dropped its charge of unfair labor practices.
According to workers who replied to a Twitter thread by WCCO’s Jason DeRusha, Wednesday’s election failed by just one vote.
Surly employees in the replies are suggesting 56 voted yes, 20 voted no, and 36 abstained.. so 1 vote short of going Union. https://t.co/QcNGblG8nw
— DeRusha Eats (@DeRushaEats) October 7, 2020
Surly officials released a statement early Wednesday evening, saying in part, “The results do not affect the Beer Hall’s stark financial reality that led to the plan and the need to close indefinitely. We’ll continue to provide guests with exceptional service and the highest safety measures until our final night of service.”
Unite Here posted a statement in a Twitter thread, saying Wednesday’s vote was not the end of the line for Surly workers.
Today the vast majority of workers who voted in the election voted for the Union. Sadly, our election agreement specified that to win we would need the majority of ALL workers not just those who voted. We fell short of that by 1 vote.
— UNITE HERE Local 17 (@UNITEHERE17) October 7, 2020
Surly Beer Hall temporarily closed Sunday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Several other service industry organizing movements have occurred recently in the Twin Cities, which have proved successful at Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Lawless Distilling Company and Stilheart Distillery and Cocktail Lounge Reaction work. Spyhouse Coffee workers have yet to hold their election.