Willis Tower Starbucks workers announce intention to unionize | Chicago News


(WTTW News)

Employees at Willis Tower Starbucks said on Wednesday they were seeking union representation, which an “overwhelming majority of workers support.”

“We are forced to work in an assembly line-like production serving coffee and food at a fast pace despite anything going on in the building, such as heat or air conditioning, fighting, infestation of pests, death by drug overdose, etc. our physical or mental well-being,” barista Melany Alicea said in a press release.

This release described the Willis Tower location as one of the busiest in the United States.

The unionization announcement comes a day after Lakeview Starbucks Employees voted 11 to 1 in favor of representation, according to voting results shared by organizers. On Monday, workers at Glenview Starbucks announced they also planned to unionize.

Yesterday’s vote at Irving Park Road and Ashland Avenue coffeehouses brings the total number of unionized Starbucks stores in the Chicago area to eight. There are also three in Edgewater and one in Bucktown, Hyde Park, North Park and the northwest suburb of Cary.

But one of the Edgewater locations, located on Bryn Mawr and Winthrop avenues, is ready to close later this month. Organizers say it’s one of many “union busting” tactics the huge coffee company has employed in Chicago and across the United States, which union supporters say also include surveillance, discipline and dismissal of employees.

Starbucks spokespersons have consistently denied the union-busting accusations.

In a statement on the Edgewater site closure, a Starbucks spokesperson told WTTW News, “We continue to provide our partners with the training, policies and information they need to address the societal challenges that cross the thresholds of our stores every day. But when these efforts are not enough to keep our partners safe, we will make the decision to close a store, regardless of its turnover or union status.

The Glenview and Willis Tower locations join another Starbucks in Elmhurst currently awaiting a unionization vote.

Unionization votes failed at Starbucks locations in Logan Square, La Grange and downtown. According to the National Labor Relations Board, more than 300 Starbucks locations across the country held elections for a union, with 80% in favor. All organized with Workers United, an affiliate of the SEIU.

Contact Nick Blumberg: [email protected] | (773) 509-5434 | @ndblumberg


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