Downtown Madison Starbucks workers file for vote on unionization effort

A group of workers at the Starbucks location in downtown Madison hopes to be the first in the city to unionize.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 9:24 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2022 at 6:01 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A group of workers at the Starbucks location in downtown Madison hopes to be the first in the city to unionize.

On Tuesday, Starbucks Workers United announced that they have filed with the National Labor Relations Board for employees of the location at 1 E. Main St. to vote on whether to join.

In a statement, Starbucks Workers United indicated that, in addition to being Madison’s first organized Starbucks, it would be the third such one in the Wisconsin. The union also noted the location of the store, near the statehouse, in reference to the Act 10 protests just over a decade ago, saying in the statement, “[t]he significance of this location is not lost on the part of the baristas.”

“We walk right past our state capitol building before clocking into each shift, reminded of Wisconsin’s struggle for justice at work,” a letter from the store’s workers to Starbucks’ CEO Howard Shultz stated. “We will not give in to one-sided corporate decision-making when right outside our doors Wisconsinites have gathered for over a century to protest for what they believe in.”

According to Starbucks Workers United, a large majority of staff members at the store have signed their union authorization cards. A vote will still need to be held in the coming weeks to determine if the workers will join the union.

The SEIU-affiliated union added that it has recently organized stores in Buffalo, New York; Seattle, Washington; and Mesa, Arizona.

In a statement to NBC15 News, a spokesperson for Starbucks said the company is, “listening and learning from from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country.” The coffee shop giant often refers to its employees as partners.

“From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed,” she added.

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