The Workers Center at the Economic Justice Coalition has been facilitating an effort to unionize a popular local brewery in Athens, GA. Workers at Creature Comforts Brewing Company, located primarily in downtown Athens, GA, are unionizing their facilities. The union will be called the Brewing Union of Georgia (BUG). On January 13, 2023, at 2:30pm, workers delivered a formal letter to company management informing the company that a majority interest of workers have signed cards authorizing BUG to represent them for the purposes of collective bargaining. The letter states that the workers are forming BUG principally because:
Creature Comforts’ core values essentially promote unionization. The next step is simply to meet your workers at the bargaining table. Company values such as ‘existing to foster human connection’ and ‘building a balanced team of authentic and professional individuals’ are the same values BUG seeks to achieve through good faith bargaining with management. BUG desires to negotiate on issues such as equitable corporate governance, wage transparency, organization-wide paid time off (PTO) policies, and sustainable organizational structures. Every value Creature Comforts holds can be traced back to the idea of people first—that workers matter. What better way to show workers and the community that you put people first than to recognize BUG and to bargain in good faith with your workers? Your workers believe that you will make the right decision.
Shortly after informing management, BUG publicly announced their intent to unionize Creature Comforts facilities at a large labor coalition event at Little Kings Shuffle Club sponsored by EJC, United Campus Workers of Georgia, Union for Southern Service Workers, and the Athens Area Democratic Socialists. Labor organizer and hip hop artist Mariah Parker aka Linqua Franqa performed in support of the coalition and BUG’s announcement. BUG member Katie Britton announced the union’s intent to file with the NLRB stating that “Creature’s a big part of this community, and this community is a really big part of creature,” Britton said. “We all believe that this is a really good step for everyone in our community and beyond.”
BUG members gave management three calendar days to respond. The union intends to file its petition for a secret ballot election with the NLRB if the company does not agree to voluntary recognition.
The Workers Center at EJC will continue to support BUG’s unionization effort and to advance the values of worker dignity, thriving wages, and democratic workplaces secured through unionization.