Monday, Caribou Coffee frontline workers rallied for the second time in a month to demand their employer improve working conditions for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 30 Caribou Coffee workers were joined by approximately 70 community allies. The car rally was held in front of the Caribou Coffee corporate headquarters in Brooklyn Center.

The workers are calling for a $3/hr hazard pay raise through September. In April, Caribou instituted a 10% hourly raise — for only one month only.  For most workers, that only amounts to about $1/hr. 

During the rally, Caribou employee Lux described having to make cleaning towels out of whatever extra piece of cloth they could find. They stated, “In my humble opinion Workplace Safety should not be a DIY project for us.”

Another employee, Noor Abdellaoui noted that while they got a 10% raise, it is barely one dollar an hour. “My life is worth more than a dollar,” Abdellaoui said. “We put ourselves at risk everyday and interact with hundreds of customers. Because of that it can be a matter of life and death.” 

Last month, workers rallied outside of a Caribou Coffee store in Roseville calling for the same demands. While the company has made some changes, they have not gone far enough to address workers’ concern. 

A voluntary survey was sent to Caribou Coffee workers in Minnesota from May 15 to May 17, 2020. The survey results below contrast claims from Caribou Coffee CEO John Butcher and the Caribou Coffee Leadership Team about their safety precautions with experiences of Caribou Coffee workers as reported through the anonymous survey. 

5_17_20-MN-Caribou-Employee-Survey-2

Many Caribou Coffee employees in the Twin Cities metro area and around the country are reporting that they do not have access to enough masks and that cleaning and sanitation supplies are running out. The company has still refused to institute a robust and comprehensive sick leave policy in all stores. 

Minnesota is set to begin partial reopening on Monday, and while restaurants will not officially open, many Caribou Coffee stores are encouraging customers to enter, place an order at the counter and exchange money without abiding by social distancing guidelines.  

Below are their demands.


COVID-Related Demands

  • $3/hour hazard pay rate increase for all shop-based workers until September, 2020 
    • This hazard pay increase should be backdated to April 7th, when workers demanded this!
  • Close all stores until it is safe to go back to work. During closures, fully paid leave for all shop-based staff affected by closures.
    • Safe stores require at a minimum:
      • Fully stocked PPE for all shop-based workers
      • Fully stocked cleaning and sanitizing supplies for every store
      • Contactless service
  • Immediate cease of any intimidation tactics against workers that are organizing together and protected by law and a company-wide communication of an anti-retaliation policy.

Long-Term/Structural Changes Towards a Better Company

  • $15 minimum wage across the company for all front-line workers and immediate implementation of credit-card and cash tipping for in-store and online and app-based orders.
  • Wage transparency across the company to ensure workers are being paid equitably. 
    • Transparent company-wide hiring wages for each position  (Team Member, MOD, ASM, GM) based on a $15/hr company-wide minimum wage.
  • Company-wide paid  sick & safe time policy for ALL workers. 
    • For every 20 hours worked, workers should earn 1 hour of paid sick and safe time.
    • Separate PTO and Sick Time on employee benefit documentation
    • Sick Time continued to be accrued after 2 years of working at Caribou in addition to PTO accrual. 
  • 6-week Paid Family Leave policy available to all workers across the company.
  • PTO for all workers, as well as equity and transparency around PTO for all employees 
    • Removal of full time employee status requirement (working 35 hours for at least 6 months and then continuing to work 35 hours each week) in order to accrue PTO  
    • For every 20 hours worked, one hour of PTO is accrued in addition to paid sick & safe time.
  • The same healthcare benefits offered to Caribou Corporate Employees should be offered to all front-line workers!

One thought on “Caribou Coffee Protests Continue

  1. Lux instead of Lex and my last name is Abdellaoui, not Avvellaoui. Other than that, really well written article!

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