Collective Bargaining

Employees at Spyhouse Coffee – which is sort of like Dunn Brothers, although tonier, more expensive and generally less tasty – want to unionize.

If for no other reason that this response, I may just give them another try:

I’ve always wanted one of these unions, trying to organize a low margin service business like coffee shops or bars, to test the “Labor Theory of Value” by grabbing a group of baristas, huddling them up in a vacant lot, and seeing if a coffee shop spontaneously erupts around them.

18 thoughts on “Collective Bargaining

  1. Ashley: Like that is SUCH a great idea, if we ran the shops, we could like give away free coffee.

    Chad: Na-ah, Ash, we got to make some money, what about free coffee only to homeless and BIPOC peoples?

    Ashley: That’s still like SOOO capitalist.

    Chad: But we have to make some money.

    Ashley: Why?

    Chad: Because next on the agenda is health insurance.

    Ashley: Like yeah, but it’s EMPLOYER PROVIDED health insurance.

    Chad: Uh-huh and we would be the employers, that means we pay.

    Ashley: WHAT!!??? No one said nothing about THAT!

  2. Ashley: Nobody is buying our coffee. Customers walk away when they see the menu board price is $22 per cup. The price is too high.

    Chad: It has to be, so we can make rent and still pay ourselves $15 an hour.

    Ashley: Then it should be $15 a cup, not $22.

    Chad: (sigh)

  3. In addition to Spyhouse, the employees at Surley, Tattersal, Indeed, and a few other breweries are trying to unionize. This is why you can’t leave the kids unsupervised. There are predators online. During the height of the shutdown, all these folks that had jobs are now sitting at home with internet access. This is where they get radicalized to the glories of the SEIU.

    Then, the bosses are able to bring them back. The bosses have cared for these employees, doing at best as able. Only to be told that “you are an uncaring capitalist, and I want to have a say in company decisions” It looks like many (Surley and Spyhouse at least) have gone for the nuclear option of either “I’ll close it down before I do this” or “You’re all idiots”

  4. All retail food outlets, high end or low, operate on extremely thin margins.

    You don’t think McDonald’s would have loved to comply with artificially set minimum wages?

    Hey look at us, we’re the socially conscious fast food place!

    But they can’t exist that way, so here in Cali at least there are now kiosks for ordering (pre blue city flu).

    Higher minimum wage by law, fewer jobs. Seems I’ve read that somewhere before.

  5. Spyhouse, Surley, Tattersal

    Notice the pattern here?

    All high-end retailers who market to the fickle over-educated, well-heeled, woke end of the spectrum. If you don’t cater to their wokeness, you lose, If you charge $1 more a cup or glass, your “greed” will drive their business elsewhere.

    Talk about being between a rock and a hard-place.

  6. Or do you think owners of Spyhouse are smarter than the average bear? They see a train wreck coming, cash from store sale is a proverbial bird in hand, while having a union is a yellow brick road to bankruptcy. They are negotiating with good faith and have higher moral ground. And when Unite 17 goes poof(!), they can use the cash from the sale and reopen and not have to worry about idiot barristas again, all of whom will be running for political offices to emulate their idol.

  7. Chad: “Ash, we need to brainstorm how to get people to pay $22 for our coffee.”

    Ashley: “I GOT IT! We get the government to MAKE them buy our coffee!”

  8. Marx economics has always been a train wreck. The theory that the value of a thing is the sum of the labor used to produce it is axiomatic to Marxists because it is not a thing that can be proven.

  9. Worse, MO, it’s easily disproven.

    I spent two hours making this coffee mug – plopping the clay on the wheel, spinning it, glazing it – and my time is worth $15 per hour so this coffee cup is worth $30.

    What do you mean, it’s lumpy, misshapen and ugly? So you could get a much nicer one at The Dollar Store for a buck, what’s that got to do with anything? I invested my labor, the labor sets the price, fork over the dough.

    The labor theory doesn’t consider the externals which consumers value, such as quality and available substitutes. That’s why the theory doesn’t work.

    Except at the Renaissance Festival. There, a lumpy misshapen mug is totally worth it.

  10. If I – with my BA in English, and no plumbing experience other than replacing the occasional toilet – walk into your house, and spend two hours wrestling with fixing the trap on your sink, and doing it badly, do I still get $160?

  11. If I – with my BA in English, and no plumbing experience other than replacing the occasional toilet – walk into your house, and spend two hours wrestling with fixing the trap on your sink, and doing it badly, do I still get $160?

    Depends. Can you call it artisanal plumbing?

  12. Sure he can, Night Writer, it’s right there on the itemized statement

    Call out fee…..
    Drive time to the job……
    Putting on the stupid Covid costume….
    10 minutes doing the repair…..
    Taking off the stupid Covid costume…..
    Drive time back to the shop….
    Parts, materials, supplies….
    Plumbing Permit fee…..
    Artisanal Plumbing surcharge….
    Homeowner “helping” surcharge….

  13. Joe. – that plumbing permit fee would drive it up a lot higher. It’s $85 for the most basic permit. Add in that you’ve got to be licensed in the city as well (at least $1,000/year) and it adds up..

  14. Labor is an input to price, at least .
    What do business men do when they want to lower the price of an item & so sell more of them?
    Cut labor costs.

  15. But free coffee is a basic human right.

    We must provide free organic coffee, non-dairy creamer, and non-GMO sweetener for everyone. It must be available to everyone including non-citizens and taxes on the rich will pay for it. The government should take over all coffee shops as soon as possible and start redistributing caffeine as soon as possible. That way the government will decide which coffee flavor, how much each person should get and will distribute to those who have paid enough taxes. As employees they can still form a government union to protect workers rights (triple wage on weekends, nights and holidays) and get higher wages by shafting the taxpayers even more.

  16. I would have more sympathy with businesses in these disputes if they did not use the power of government to try and increase their own profits by controlling the market place where they sell their goods.

  17. PO, that had already been tried. There is a scene in Moscow on the Hudson that nails it pretty well.

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