Workers at 4 Philly Starbucks vote to unionize | Company


Employees at four Starbucks in Philadelphia voted this week to unionize – with workers at two stores voting unanimously – joining a wave of newly organized Starbucks across the country.

A total of five Philadelphia stores voted to unionize on Wednesday. Employees at 1945 Callowhill St., near the Barnes Museum, voted against unionization, 10-4.

The stores that voted to unionize are at 3401 Walnut St., in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania campus (10-0); 3400 Civic Center Blvd., near Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (10-1); 600 S. Ninth St., across from Whole Foods Market on South Street (7-2); and Center City’s 1900 Market St., which is also home to a WeWork and a Wawa (11-0).

Nearly 270 Starbucks outposts have filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board to unionize, and more are in the works. Of the 110 union elections that have taken place, workers voted to unionize at 95 sites, according to Workers United communications director Dawn Ang. Nine stores voted against unionization and the results of six elections are pending.

Starbucks, which has nearly 17,000 stores in the United States, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shauna Reichman Lemieux, a barista who works at 3400 Civic Center Blvd. location, tuned for the virtual vote tally on Wednesday. Before the count, she was 99% sure that her store would vote to unionize. She said feelings among her colleagues had solidified as the vote drew closer, despite the small group and one-on-one meetings managers held with workers to discuss unionization — and despite warnings from Starbucks acting CEO Howard Schultz that only non-union Starbucks would receive enhanced benefits in the coming months.

In a previous interview, Reichman Lemieux said that unions give workers “legal and official bargaining chips,” which she thinks service industry workers especially need. She has indirect knowledge of unions: her mother was a member of the painters union and her stepfather is a member of the South Jersey Electricians Union.

On Wednesday, her younger sister and mother were messaging her for updates. “As soon as it was determined we won, I texted them and they were both so excited.”

In upcoming contract negotiations, Reichman Lemieux hopes to see increased staff, higher pay and more predictable hours at his store.

“I feel a bit more optimistic about the future,” she said.

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