Graham Kilmer

Another Starbucks Faces Union Campaign

Employees at Starbucks in Plover announce union drive, following lead of workers at Oak Creek store.

By - Feb 21st, 2022 01:07 pm
Starbucks. Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

Starbucks. (Pixabay License).

Workers at another Starbucks coffee shop in Wisconsin announced a campaign to unionize their store Monday.

Earlier this month, employees at the Starbucks at 8880 S. Howell Ave. in Oak Creek became the first location in Wisconsin to announce they were organizing, joining a national union movement at Starbucks stores that began with a union election win at Starbucks stores in Buffalo, New York.

Workers at a Starbucks in Plover, the central Wisconsin town south of Stevens Point, went public with their unionization attempt, after sending a letter to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. They’re organizing with the growing national union Starbucks Workers United, an affiliate of Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

In a press release announcing the union drive in Plover, a worker, Izzie Moritz, is quoted saying, “This is our lives, our well-being, and happiness. Our campaign is a symbol of Starbucks’ failure to create the environment they advertise to the world about their work practices and promises.”

Starbucks Workers United said the Plover store, at 120 Crossroads Dr., is the latest among dozens of locations to organize in the Midwest. Many have already filed for union elections.

While workers were organizing the first store in Buffalo, Starbucks announced it would begin raising wages for employees to $15 an hour or more in 2022.

After the store in Oak Creek announced their drive, one employee, Sydney LeBarron-Fahl told Urban Milwaukee that the relationship with Starbucks management is one-way. “They have all the power to make decisions,” she said.

Workers want to negotiate for better pay and working conditions, which, like so many service jobs, became difficult in new ways during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organizing of Starbucks is employing a different approach than that of the union at Milwaukee-based Colectivo Coffee. Colectivo workers sought to organize the whole company in a single drive and election, but Starbucks workers are organizing the chain one shop at a time.

The difference here means that Colectivo will negotiate a company-wide labor contract and Starbucks unions are currently negotiating contracts store by store. The first Starbucks union in Buffalo began contract negotiations at the end of January, The Buffalo News reported.

Colectivo workers won their union election in August 2021, but six months later the ownership at Colectivo is on their second appeal of those election results to the National Labor Relations Board. The owners are not negotiating until the appeal process is over. The union has repeatedly called for the owners to recognize the legitimacy of the union and begin the bargaining process.

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