Workers at an Edgewater Starbucks announced a organizing effort Thursday morning, the third location in the Chicago area in three weeks.
That brings the total to eight Starbucks coffee shops in the area seeking representation. These workers are part of a growing national effort that organizers say now has 176 sites, 10 of which have voted to join a union.
Thursday morning’s announcement came from staff at an Edgewater Starbucks on Bryn Mawr and Winthrop Avenues. The location joins five in the city that have already filed – another in Edgewater, as well as Bucktown, Hyde Park, Logan Square and the city centre. Shops in the northwest suburb of Cary and the western suburb of La Grange are also trying to unionize. All eight filed for representation with the Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board of Workers United, an SEIU affiliate.
“This decision is not about correcting specific mistakes – we recognize that we have been through unprecedented times with unpredictable challenges – it is about being heard and playing a more active role in the future of this company and our place in it,” the Edgewater store organizing committee wrote in a letter released Thursday morning. “We are confident that Starbucks will do the right thing with its partners once we are able to properly collaborate as equals in the success of this business.”
This week marked the start of the election process for Cary’s Starbucks site seeking representation, as well as Peoria’s. Postal voting began on Tuesday, with a vote count scheduled for April 26. But La Grange stores and Chicago stores that have filed so far still don’t have an election package, which organizers blame Starbucks for using legal tactics to drag out the case.
“We are listening and learning from partners at these stores as we always do across the country,” a Starbucks spokesperson told WTTW News last month. “From the beginning, we have been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners with no union between us, and that belief has not changed.”
Starbucks workers and union supporters say the company has engaged in “union busting” tactics, such as changing the schedules of pro-union workers or unfairly disciplining staff. On Monday, a Phoenix-area labor organizer said she was fired from her union job and blamed it on Starbucks’ retaliation, which the company denied. Last month, the NLRB filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for retaliating against two pro-union employees, also in the Phoenix area.
Contact Nick Blumberg: [email protected] | (773) 509-5434 | @ndblumberg