Workers at Spruce Confections, a Boulder bakery chain, voted last week 31 to 9 in favor of joining the local Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union.
Spruce employees celebrated the vote in a Sunday rally outside the location on Pearl Street. Melissa Laurienti, a barista who has worked at Spruce for three years, said the union will fight to improve salaries and health benefits amid a nationwide labor shortage.
"It's all been about growth and growth and the employees haven't seen a lot of benefits of that,” she said. “We really just want to feel like we're a part of Spruce's success."
Laurienti said Spruce experienced the same rates of high employee turnover during the pandemic that companies across the nation saw. She said she stepped down from her management position recently because staffing issues grew too stressful.
“We've definitely been experiencing that a lot and we think better training, better wages, better benefits would entice people to work for us and stay with us,” Laurienti said.
Employees announced a union push in late October. About 77 employees were eligible to vote. Spruce Confections has four Boulder locations, including one at the University of Colorado.
Unions in Colorado have tried to address worker burnout and labor shortages in various industries. Earlier this year, Denver International Airport janitors went on strike to protest their employers refusing to grant them raises in their new contract. Colorado Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers narrowly avoided a strike after agreeing on a new four-year contract with the provider this month.
HelloFresh workers in Aurora overwhelmingly rejected what would have been the first union in the meal kit delivery industry in November.