May 26, 2022 - News

4 Philadelphia Starbucks stores vote to unionize

Illustration of a union protest sign attached to a coffee stirrer in a to-go cup.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Employees at four Philadelphia Starbucks stores voted to unionize on Wednesday, joining dozens of others across the United States.

The big picture: The tight labor market, combined with a pro-union White House and lingering pandemic concerns, are fueling a new labor movement across the United States.

Driving the news: The National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday counted election ballots from five city Starbucks stores that petitioned to unionize.

Details: Employees at the four unionized stores will join Workers United, an affiliate of Service Employees International Union.

  • At least 80 Starbucks stores have voted to form a union with Workers United and scores more have petitioned to unionize, said Alex Riccio, a staff organizer at the union who organized the Philly campaigns.

What they're saying: Riccio said the Philadelphia Starbucks stores were tapping into a national labor movement.

  • "All the workers are excited. They're also angry. That's a pretty potent combination," he said.

Colter Chatriand, a barista and the main organizer for Callowhill's union campaign, said he would seek another unionization vote at the store after the required waiting period.

  • "We'll see what my future holds. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."

Meanwhile, Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges told Axios the company will respect its employees' voices and bargain in good faith.

  • "The vote outcomes will not change our shared purpose or how we will show up for each other."

Between the lines: Starbucks recently revealed it'll spend nearly $1 billion this fiscal year to boost worker wages and training, among other initiatives, at non-unionized stores.

What to watch: Workers at the Starbucks store at 12th and Walnut Streets also are seeking to unionize, Riccio said.

  • Ballots in that store's election are expected to be counted next month.
  • Meanwhile, the NLRB in Phoenix accused Starbucks of "retaliating against" workers involved in organizing a union last month. Starbucks rejected the claims.
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