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Former Adda Coffee & Tea House workers reach compensation agreement with owner

Workers protest while holding pro-union signs.
Oliver Morrison
90.5 WESA
Former workers for Adda's Coffee and Tea House met in Sharpsburg in January to bring attention to the layoffs that they say was in retaliation for announcing their intent to form a union.

Former employees of Adda Coffee & Tea House have reached a compensation agreement with the defunct local chain following its permanent closure last month.

In early January, workers notified the store’s owner, Sukanta Nag, of their intention to unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Nag announced the next day that all four of Adda’s Pittsburgh locations would close immediately.

Nag said then that financial difficulties unrelated to employees’ unionization effort prompted the abrupt closure. Former workers questioned that claim, though, including Steven Stulock, who worked as a barista for Adda and attended a Jan. 17 rally in support of the laid-off workers.

“It sure is curious [given that] Sukanta has told us that Adda has been operating at a loss since the day it opened,” Stulock said at the time. “He was in no rush over those eight years to close even a single location until the very next day after we announced our organization to him.”

The former employees announced on Monday that the agreement included a compensation package for workers who lost their jobs due to the stores’ closures. As a result, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union withdrew its petition with the National Labor Relations Board to represent Adda baristas and kitchen staff.

The press release announcing the agreement did not specify what the compensation package included. Last month, workers said they were asking Nag for a month of severance pay, to pay out their unused paid time off and to allow them into the closed buildings to retrieve personal items.

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Oliver Morrison is a general assignment reporter at WESA. He previously covered education, environment and health for PublicSource in Pittsburgh and, before that, breaking news and weekend features for the Wichita Eagle in Kansas.