Baristas at Duluth Starbucks to unionize

A Duluth Starbucks votes to unionize

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Workers at the Woodland Avenue Starbucks in Duluth have voted to join Starbucks Workers United.

In a 11 to 8 vote, the location has now become the 7th Starbucks in Minnesota to have joined the Union that now comprises of over 9,000 members.

“After months of seeing the issues Starbucks has perpetuated with inaction, our store voted to join in favor union representation not only for ourselves, but for each other and future baristas that will come after us,” said Austin Lage, a shift supervisor whose been at the Woodland Avenue Starbucks for two years. “This is a step forward we were proud to take not only for our store, but for all of Starbucks Workers United as well as the labor movement as a whole.”

More than 380 Starbuck locations have unionized since December 2021.

WDIO reached out to Starbucks for a statement a received the following reply:

“We respect the rights of our partners to organize and bargain collectively, and we are eager to reach ratified agreements in 2024 for represented stores. Our commitment to all partners to offer a bridge to a better future remains unchanged.” 

“As a next step, following the January 11 vote, the NLRB must certify the outcome of the union representation election. The steps include: 

  1. Once the NLRB certifies the outcome of the election, Workers United must identify a bargaining representative for the store and send Starbucks an initial bargaining demand (a requirement for Starbucks to initiate the bargaining process). 
  2. Following receipt of a demand to bargain, Starbucks will communicate through the representative identified by Workers United to propose a date and location for a first in-person contract bargaining session. Workers United must confirm a session proposed by the company or suggest a mutually agreeable alternative date to begin in-person negotiations towards a first contract for our Woodland Avenue store in Duluth. 
  3. Once a first contract bargaining session date is confirmed, the company and union bargaining committees meet in-person to begin negotiations. At a store’s first session, parties traditionally discuss ground rules for how parties will conduct themselves throughout the bargaining process. Then, both parties begin the time-intensive process of exchanging and discussing proposals and counterproposals they’d like to be included in a store’s collective bargaining agreement. 
  4. Over the course of multiple bargaining sessions, both parties debate specific contract proposals and make counterproposals in the hopes of reaching an agreement on specific contract terms. Negotiations over specific proposals take place over a series of sessions, with the parties exchanging multiple drafts of proposals and counterproposals until they find common ground. In these sessions, proposals are either accepted or countered with alternative proposals.
  5. Should bargaining, discussion and negotiation result in agreement on all outstanding issues, the employer’s legal team will draft a store-specific collective bargaining agreement, which will include all tentative agreements approved by the company and the union bargaining committees, will be prepared. The full collective bargaining agreement will then be presented by the union to store partners for a ratification vote.   
  6. The store’s partners will either accept or reject the agreement. If they ratify it, all parties will be subject to the terms of the CBA for the duration of the agreement.”

“Recently, Starbucks Chief Partner Officer Sara Kelly sent a letter to Workers United President Lynne Fox in an earnest attempt to propose a path forward that would allow us to resume productive contract negotiations for our U.S. partners who have chosen to elect union representation.  The letter outlines our desire to reach contracts for represented stores in the coming year and our commitment to conduct bargaining in a way that honors and respects the dignity, individuality and privacy of our partners.”

“To provide additional transparency to our partners and others, Starbucks launched a bargaining status lookup tool that provides real-time updates on the status of bargaining for the 3% of U.S. stores represented by a union. The tool is updated each week and provides store-specific bargaining session information including the union involved, the date of the last bargaining session, the date of the next scheduled session and the status of scheduling for future sessions.”