Six weeks after filing for union election with the National Labor Relations Board, the group ‘Scoopers United’ can now officially say they are united.
Tuesday afternoon, a significant majority of the 39 workers at Ben & Jerry’s flagship store on Church Street in Burlington voted in favor of forming a workers union, making them the first Ben & Jerry’s location to do so.
“We had an overwhelming support for this,” said Rebeka Mendelsohn, a co-organizer of Scoopers United. “Today represents our union being officially recognized. Scoopers United is no longer an idea, but an actuality that we all get to support.”
Joining the workers for their vote was Vermont State Representative Kate Logan, a Democrat representing Burlington’s Old North End and Downtown district. Logan certified the results of the vote immediately after it concluded, and recognized Ben & Jerry’s as the first major corporation in the United State to abide by ‘Fair Election Principles’.
“It’s a huge accomplishment, and I wish that every employer in the United States would do this for our workers,” said Logan following the vote.
Throughout the unionization process, officials with Ben & Jerry’s showed support for their scoopers on multiple occasions. Sean Greenwood, a spokesperson for Ben & Jerry’s, said in a statement back on April 18, “We recognize and support the rights of all workers to unionize and collectively bargain … We welcome the steps taken by the workers at our company-owned Scoop Shop in our hometown of Burlington, VT.”
And with Scoopers United now officially a workers union, its members say, “Let the bargaining begin.”
“As Ben & Jerry’s employees, it’s important for us to make sure that the values the company projects applies to us and that we feel empowered,” Mendelsohn said.
Members of the new union say some of the things they want to negotiate with Ben & Jerry’s on include competitive wages and benefits, but also how the company can further address drug use that’s happened in their store bathrooms.
“I’d like to see Ben & Jerry’s take a bigger role in the drug pandemic and what that means in our shop,” Mendelsohn said. “I think there could be more benefits afforded to people who work nearly full-time that currently aren’t available, but are available to greater Unilever employees.”
Scoopers United expects to be in negotiations with Ben & Jerry’s later this summer, and say they hope to continue making history, one scoop at a time.