Third Starbucks In State Faces Union Effort
Madison store’s workers join those in Oak Creek and Plover, filing petition for union representation.
Employees at a third Wisconsin Starbucks location filed a petition for union representation Tuesday, continuing a nationwide union drive that has been unfolding since late last year at the Seattle-based coffee chain.
Between 20 and 30 employees who work at the Madison Starbucks located at 1 E. Main St., across the street from the state Capitol, are expected to vote in an election later this spring on union representation.
Evan McKenzie, a barista, has worked for Starbucks for five years, the last two at the Main Street store where he works now.
Talk of unionizing at the store began in the COVID-19 pandemic, McKenzie said.
“Starbucks very publicly gave their workers a $3 pay increase for a while,” he said. “They gave us food and drink benefits and a variety of other things. About halfway through the pandemic they just took all those things away. It seemed very disingenuous to us, especially as a company that sort of flags itself as this progressive, employee-friendly company.”
In February, employees at a Starbucks in Plover, Wis., near Stevens Point, and at one in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek filed petitions for union elections.
The Starbucks employees are signing with Starbucks Workers United, part of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). According to a pro-union website tracking the Starbucks organizing campaign, employees at about 170 locations around the country have either announced they were organizing or formally filed for a representation election with the National Labor Relations Board. So far employees have voted for union representation at nine outlets and against unionization at one.
Starbucks has opposed the union organizing drives. After a majority of employees voted for union representation at a Buffalo Starbucks — the first Starbucks in the country to have a union — Rossann Williams, executive vice president, posted an open letter to employees online.
In the Dec. 20 letter, Williams stated that “we do not want a union between us as partners” — the term that the company uses to refer to employees — but that the company would bargain in good faith where a union was voted in. A spokesperson for the company said Tuesday that management’s position has not changed.
Madison store is third Wisconsin Starbucks where employees seek a union was originally published by the Wisconsin Examiner.