Twin Cities Starbucks Workers Joining Effort to Unionize


An effort to unionize by Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York, is moving west, having worked its way into Cleveland, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois, and now to the Twin Cities.

“Early Friday morning, the hourly workers at two Twin Cities Starbucks locations, demanded union recognition from CEO Kevin Johnson and local management,” the letter said.

The stores are working in conjunction with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), in their efforts. That group said that a majority of the employees at both stores – one in Minneapolis and the other in St. Paul – signed off on a letter to Johnson demanding unionization. The stores are the first in Minnesota to make such a demand.

“We as workers at Starbucks invest our time, well-being and safety into a company that has shown repeated apathy towards its employees,” the letter from the St. Paul store, emailed to Johnson, said. “We work in the midst of an ongoing global crisis, and see little to no support … We want to see Starbucks become a healthier and more equitable workplace … We are organizing a union at the Snelling and Stanford [street] store in Saint Paul to improve our workplace for ourselves, for members of our community, and for Starbucks as a whole.”

Workers United International President Kathy Hanshew wrote a letter of support, claiming that despite the fact that Starbucks labels its employees as “partners,” they are not treated as such.

Starbucks Workers United has a webpage dedicated to its cause.

“Starbucks is the leader in the coffee industry, and one of the most successful companies in the world,” the Starbucks Workers United website says. “We want to share in that success, and we want to have a voice in determining what that looks like for us. We think there is a disconnect between corporate and us. The company says that partners come first, but all too often puts large shareholders above all else.”

More than 70 store locations nationwide are participating in the effort to unionize.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Minnesota Sun and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].

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