Home Local Baristas at two more Chicago Starbucks file for union elections in Edgewater, West Rogers Park

Baristas at two more Chicago Starbucks file for union elections in Edgewater, West Rogers Park

by staff

Days after baristas at two Chicago Starbucks voted to unionize, workers at two more city stores have filed for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board.

The union filings come out of Starbucks locations at 6350 N. Broadway in Edgewater and 6075 N. Lincoln Ave. in West Rogers Park. The “overwhelming majority” of employees at the stores signed union authorization cards, according to Workers United, the Service Employees International Union affiliate that represents the Starbucks workers.

Advertisement

“If Starbucks really wants to call their baristas and supervisors partners, I think they should be unionized, because that’s the only way the balance of power is actually equal,” said Gwendolyn Roberts, a shift supervisor at the Edgewater store and a member of its union organizing committee.

“We want to make sure that our voices are heard, and I don’t think Starbucks does a good enough job right now in making sure that our voices are heard,” said Ryan Kiefer, a shift supervisor and organizing committee member at the Edgewater store who has worked at Starbucks for more than seven years.

Advertisement

In a letter to interim Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, members of the Edgewater store’s organizing committee criticized the company for placing “its revenue and monetary gains above partner safety, health and wellbeing.” The committee wrote that they were inspired by the “hard work and fearlessness” of other workers, including those in Buffalo, New York, where the Starbucks baristas’ union campaign began.

“We are honored to stand beside them, united in this fight,” they wrote. “Our call to unionize is not retaliation or reactionary to any specific policy but, rather, a genuine desire for partners to be heard and to make this company the best we believe it can be.”

In the Chicago area, 10 stores have filed for union representation with Starbucks Workers United since January. Employees at two stores in Edgewater became the first unionized Starbucks baristas in Chicago when they voted overwhelmingly in favor of the union last week.

In April, baristas at Starbucks in Cary and one in Peoria became the first in Illinois to unionize. Employees at a La Grange Starbucks voted against the union in early May, days after Schultz announced a slate of wage increases and benefits he said would not apply to employees at stores that have unionized or sought to do so.

Union elections are coming up in June for four other city stores located in the Loop, Hyde Park, Palmer Square and Bucktown.

In a statement Tuesday, Starbucks said it was “listening and learning” to employees.

“From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed,” the company said.

Nationally, employees at more than 260 Starbucks have filed for union elections, according to the NLRB. The company has pushed back, prompting a wide range of complaints from the agency including federal court filings to reinstate workers it alleges were illegally fired for organizing in two states. Baristas had lost 14 of 119 unions elections that had been held nationwide as of Friday. Starbucks Workers United announced the union had won its 100th election Friday.

Advertisement

In Chicago, the coffee shop union push has spread beyond Starbucks. Last week, employees at Intelligentsia Coffee, which has five retail locations throughout the city and a roastery in West Town, filed for union representation with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1220. The union also represents Colectivo Coffee workers who voted to unionize last year, the union said.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment