On Monday afternoon, workers from the hospitality and kitchen staff at Surly Brewing Company informed management of their intent to unionize. Though production-side employees (the folks who brew the beer) are ineligible for this union, the number of workers organizing amounts to some 110.
Since reopening under a new counter service model in June, employees at Minnesota’s industry-leading beer hall say they had voiced concerns for their safety. They say those concerns were ultimately addressed late, and in a roundabout way… when Mayor Frey put the kibosh on bar-side service citywide on August 1.
"As dedicated employees, we deserve a say in changes that affect our compensation, health insurance and employment,” wrote the organized group, Unite Surly Workers, in a public statement inviting the destination brewery’s leadership to recognize their unionization effort.
"Since its inception, Surly has been a leader in the beer industry. Today, we are asking them to pioneer the fight for workers' rights."
A spokeswoman for Surly confirmed with the Star Tribune that hospitality workers had announced their plans to unionize, before adding, “We're working on determining next steps."
The workforce is organizing under Unite Here Local 17, which should ring a bell by now. This is the very same Minneapolis-based hospitality union under which workers from Tattersall Distilling and Spyhouse Coffee Roasters have sought guidance as they’ve banded together in recent weeks.
Lucky for all of us, a kindly local comrade named Tim assembled a handy visual of what’s, erm, brewin’…