Starbucks workers strike in front of their Ann Arbor store at 300 S. Main St., Nov. 17, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins
The trend of increased service industry unionization efforts continues into 2023, albeit slowed from last year, with another Michigan Starbucks location filing last week for a union election.
“Over the years our hours have begun to be cut, new partners are not getting proper training, and management has been very unreliable,” the Starbucks union committee of the 23005 Outer Drive, Allen Park, wrote Feb. 17 in its letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
“To create changes in our workforce, we are eager to have our voices heard and our needs respected, so that together we can co-create a family we are once again proud to be a part of.”
According to Workers United, an overwhelming majority of workers at the Allen Park store also signed union authorization cards. The location would become Michigan’s 13th unionized Starbucks upon a successful National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election, for which the location has yet to receive a date.
As of Tuesday, the NLRB has tallied ballots in union elections for 358 Starbucks stores across the country. Of this, 288 have voted yes; 68 have voted no; and two are being challenged.
Of the 288 stores that voted yes, 282 have been certified and Starbucks is required to bargain in good faith with the union.
Starbucks has been faced with a number of unfair labor practice charges since its employees began organizing in 2021.
The latest, announced by the NLRB on Tuesday, saw a U.S. District Judge issued an injunction requiring Starbucks to reinstate an unlawfully fired worker at an Ann Arbor location.
Hannah Whitbeck had been a lead organizer for the store’s unionization efforts, which have since succeeded. The NLRB ruled that Starbucks fired her illegally and must rehire her with back pay.
The labor board also issued a cease and desist from unlawful activities nationwide on Tuesday.
A Starbucks in Grand Rapids became the first Michigan store to vote to unionize last May. In the months since then, nearly a dozen more have followed, including in locations like Flint, East Lansing and Ann Arbor.
Here are the locations of the 12 Michigan Starbucks that have voted for unionization, with tallies:
- 2480 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids (15-3)
- 4243 Miller Rd., Flint (13-6)
- 1141 E Grand River Ave., East Lansing (19-0)
- 2624 Lake Lansing Rd., Lansing (13-3)
- 17410 Hall Rd. #174, Clinton Township (8-3)
- 300 S. Main St., Ann Arbor (10-3)
- 222 S. State St., Ann Arbor (15-1)
- 120 S. Zeeb Rd. #101, Ann Arbor (10-2)
- 4585 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor (14-0)
- 3650 Carpenter Rd., Ypsilanti (15-2)
- 6420 Telegraph Rd., Bloomfield Twp. (7-2)
- 5655 Pickard Rd., Mount Pleasant (10-1)
About 300 Starbucks locations have organized to date across the country out of roughly 9,000 total. Another 150 or so are hoping to unionize.
Other workplaces that have seen unionization efforts include Chipotle Mexican Grill, Google, Amazon and Apple.
A Chipotle store in Michigan’s Delta Township near Lansing filed for union recognition with the NLRB in early July, and became the country’s first unionized Chipotle the following month with a vote of 11-3.
Atulya Dora-Laskey is one of the Chipotle organizers behind that historic vote.
“Historically speaking, we knew that the best way that workers ever got their issues addressed at work was their union,” Dora-Laskey told the Advance in early February.
“It makes sense because it’s this inherent idea that everyone understands — that if I ask by myself, they can easily say no, but if we all ask together, well, then the boss has to take us a lot more seriously.”
The Lansing store is still currently the only Chipotle in Michigan with an NLRB case. Dora-Laskey declined to comment on whether more will be following,
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