Madison, WI – On Thursday afternoon, Starbucks workers from the Capitol Square location in Madison observed the National Labor Relations Board count their ballots in a union representation election. These workers demanded union recognition on March 29thth of this year and today in a landslide victory of 15 to 1, they elected the Chicago & Midwest Regional Joint Board of Workers United.
These baristas were the first in Madison to join the Starbucks Workers United movement that has swept the nation. Now, they are the first and only unionized Starbucks location in Wisconsin’s capital city. As of today, workers at the international coffee chain have elected to be represented by Workers United at over two hundred Starbucks locations across America. Throughout the spring, many of these stores will finally have the opportunity to vote for Workers United (a SEIU affiliate) to represent them as they fight to improve working conditions for all Starbucks employees.
Months ago, in a letter signed by a majority of the store’s workers to then Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, the staff expressed resolve in organizing their workplace:
“How could we stay seated during this historic movement when our store’s location forces us to consider the importance of democracy and equality in decision-making in the workplace every day? We walk right past our state capitol building before clocking into each shift, reminded of Wisconsin’s struggle for justice at work. 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. Our wonderful customers, the Madison community, and the brave activism of Starbucks’ partners across the country have inspired us to finally make a change.”
After workers won the election with near unanimous support, Lee Marfyak, a leader from the Capitol Square store, reflected on their solidarity and commitment to each other:
“I’m elated to win such an overwhelming victory for us by the Capitol but I’m not surprised. I’ve seen what we can do on a farmer’s market peak, banding together is something we do daily. I was proud to call us partners before, I’m even prouder to call us a union today.”
Across the country and throughout Wisconsin, Workers United is fighting for Starbucks baristas building better, safer workplaces. Starbucks workers in Oak Creek, Plover, and Fox Valley have already cast their votes for union representation with Workers United. Sydney LeBarron-Fahl, a Shift Supervisor in the unionized Oak Creek store, hopes that the win in Madison leads to even more union victories:
“We chose Starbucks Workers United because we saw the incredible work they were doing for partners all over the United States. We hope this victory will inspire more Wisconsin stores to unionize and join the movement!”