Starbucks employees in New York City want to unionize Business and Economy News

The Workers United union announced Thursday that it filed union petitions at five downstate New York Starbucks sites.

By Bloomberg

The Starbucks Corp. unionization campaign that began in western New York and spread across the country has now reached New York City, with employees in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island petitioning to organize and drawing support from prominent politicians in the area.

The Workers United union announced Thursday that it has filed union petitions at five downstate New York Starbucks sites, including for the first time one of the company’s manufacturing plants. The Service Employees International Union affiliate also released a letter of support from 76 New York elected officials, including New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The letter urges the company to agree to restrictions on anti-union campaigning and measures such as committing that if the company holds meetings during the working day to discuss unionization then the union will get to do so as well.

New York City’s five pension funds together hold around $ 165 million in Starbucks shares, according to a spokesperson for the comptroller’s office.

“Every workplace in America should be democratized, and it’s within our power to make that happen,” Starbucks employee Sam LaGow said in an emailed statement from Workers United. LaGow’s New York store is the company’s largest on the East Coast, the union said.

A Starbucks spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry. The company’s North American president, Rossann Williams, told employees in a December letter that “we don’t want a union between us as partners,” but that the company respects the legal process and would bargain in good faith at the first store where the union won.

Workers United said Thursday it has now filed union petitions at 72 Starbucks locations across 21 states. The union prevailed in two out of three votes late last year in New York’s Buffalo region, and ballots are slated to be counted over the coming weeks at three more stores there and one in Arizona.

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