Thanks to Member Action, UW’s Maleng Café to Remain Open

In a clear victory for solidarity and member action, Maleng Café, slated for a two-month closure to conserve funds, will now remain open.

“I am glad we have a union,” said Aster Morrow, who’s been a Food Service Worker Lead at the Café for 17 years. “Because if we didn’t have a union, it would be a different story.”

Café workers and their WFSE Member Action Team mobilized quickly to gather over 430 petition signatures from doctors, local residents, and WFSE union siblings who agreed that Maleng Café should stay open.

Not Just Coffee
A small coffeeshop at Harborview Medical Center (HMC), the Café provides comfort and nourishment during stressful times.

Marianna Tereko, a Food Service Worker, knows the nurses, doctors, and locals who visit the Café.

“This is for our customers,” she said.

“Many work in the Medical Center and they don’t have time to go outside during their ten- or twenty-minute breaks.”

The Café also relieves crowding in the Harborview Medical Center cafeteria.

“We’ve had a lot of customers during this pandemic,” said Christian Cisneros, another Café Food Service Worker Lead.

“Closing the Café would concentrate even more people in the cafeteria,” he said. “My coworkers and I were concerned, and we got that feedback from customers as well.”

After meeting with management to tell their stories and present the hundreds of signatures on their petition, Café employees learned that they had been heard and the Café would remain open.

“Now we have more peace of mind,” Aster Morrow said.

“We know for sure we will have our jobs and what to expect.” 

Employees say keeping the Café open is the right choice and will help build more consistent business.

Predictable shifts offer stability to the workers, too. Café employees work second jobs, care for children and elders, and support their families.

Left to right, WFSE members and Maleng Cafe staff Ghenet Habtemnichael, Aster Morrow, Marianna Tereko,and Christian Cisneros

Left to right, WFSE members and Maleng Cafe staff Ghenet Habtemnichael, Aster Morrow, Marianna Tereko, and Christian Cisneros

Member Action and the Union Difference
For Marianna Tereko, working together with coworkers and the support of community made this win possible. 

“This is my first time working with our union,” she said.

“For me it’s very new. I just connected with my coworkers, and everybody helped us by signing our petition.”

Aster Morrow encouraged other WFSE members to work together for positive change.

“Be strong people, and know your rights,” she said. 

“Know what you want from your job and what you want to make different. Having a strong union is great.”

You can build power in the workplace through collective action. Learn more at