Burnsville Starbucks Workers Looking to Unionize
A Burnsville Starbucks filed a petition Tuesday to unionize with Starbucks Workers United, a growing union looking for better working conditions, fair wages, and consistent schedules for workers.
The Burnsville store’s unionization isn’t a done deal yet. After filing the petition, an election must still be scheduled for workers to formally vote to unionize, Starbucks Workers United organizer Hannah Fogarty told TCB. An election date hasn’t been determined yet, but they usually take place five to six weeks after filing a petition. So far, an “overwhelming majority” of workers have signed union authorization cards, Fogarty said.
If the election is successful, the store at Nicollet and Grand will be the seventh Starbucks location to organize in Minnesota.
Abril Mendoza, shift supervisor at the Burnsville location, told TCB that understaffing, burnout, inconsistent scheduling, and low pay were some of the many reasons leading to the petition to unionize. The workers want Starbucks to pay baristas $20 an hour and shift supervisors $25.40 an hour with 5% annual raises and cost of living adjustments. Mendoza said once the café heard about possible unionization, shift scheduling became more consistent, and the district manager was more present.
A Starbucks spokesperson told TCB that the coffee giant has improved partner benefits and perks wherever it can. Over the past year, Starbucks has put more than $1.4 billion to improve the experience for the stores and its partners, the spokesperson said.
Mendoza is concerned Starbucks won’t respond well to unionization, saying she thinks it could move their store manager away. Her concerns come after reading news stories about Starbucks’ response to unionization efforts and hearing people in upper management telling her to be careful.
“If [Starbucks doesn’t] feel like [the store managers] aren’t as strict about the union busting, then they will either try to find something to fire them for or transfer them to a different store and handpick a new store manager to be our new one: someone that they can trust that will enforce and report everything they hear back to their district manager,” Mendoza said.
A news release issued by Starbucks Workers United said Starbucks has a “ruthless union-busting campaign,” where it has threatened workers’ access to benefits, fired over 230 union leaders, and has shuttered union stores, leading to the National Labor Relations Board issuing over 100 official complaints against Starbucks.
Starbucks has consistently denied these allegations. The company’s spokesperson said U.S. labor law allows anyone to file a charge against an employer or union.
“We respect [partners’] right to organize and to engage in lawful union activities without fear of reprisal or retaliation,” the spokesperson said. However, unionization does not exempt partners from following policies and procedures, the spokesperson noted.
So far, over 350 Starbucks stores in the U.S. have successfully unionized. Earlier this summer, a trio of Minnesota Starbucks locations joined a nationwide strike after the chain limited displays of LGBTQ+ Pride decorations. The café at 300 Snelling Ave. S. in St. Paul – the first Minnesota location to unionize – took part in the strike.