UE Coffee Shop Opens in California’s Inland Empire

May 7, 2022

Slow Bloom Coffee, the worker cooperative formed by workers fired during a UE organizing campaign in 2020, opened the doors of its new cafe in late March.

Slow Bloom workers, who are members of UE Local 1011, have been roasting and selling coffee for over a year as they prepared to open an in-person cafe. 

In 2020, workers at the Augie’s coffee chain began organizing with UE, spurred by their bosses’ failure to prioritize their safety and economic security as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through California. After demanding recognition of their union in the summer, the owners shut down all of their shops, firing all of the union supporters. Following a judgment by the National Labor Relations Board against them at the end of the year, the owners announced that they were closing the chain for good.

The workers, however, weren’t going to give up on their desire for a decent workplace — or their love of coffee. Backed by a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that raised over $35,000, the workers began roasting coffee beans in January of 2021, selling them in the community and online, and serving coffee at “pop-up” events. They received their charter as UE Local 1011 at UE’s 77th convention last September.

Slow Bloom coffee and merchandise — including a monthly coffee “subscription” — can be purchased online at slowbloomcoffee.com.

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