West Allis, WI – Early Tuesday morning, the hourly workers at Starbucks, located at Hwy 100 and National Ave., have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an election and demanded union recognition from CEO Howard Schultz and local management. According to Workers United (an SEIU affiliate), an overwhelming majority of workers at the store signed union authorization cards and a petition demanding union recognition.
These baristas are the second in the Milwaukee area and fifth in Wisconsin to join the Starbucks Workers United movement that has swept across the country As of today, workers at the international coffee chain have filed for elections at hundreds of locations across the country and have won representation in over one hundred of them, including one cafe in Oak Creek, WI.
In a letter signed by a majority of the cafe’s workers and e-mailed Friday to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, the staff expressed resolve in organizing their workplace:
“Our desire to unionize goes beyond our personal gain, beyond our store, and even beyond our company. The standard business model for multi-billion dollar corporations has allowed for CEO’s to make over 300 times that of the average worker. And though Starbucks offers a wage over the average amount for the American worker, this amount is not enough. The minimum wage, if adjusted for productivity, should be over $20 per hour. Partners are struggling to get by, and the company has the means to give us what we deserve.”
In a statement of support, Workers United International Vice President Kathy Hanshew added:
“Starbucks is a multimillion dollar corporation that tries to pride itself on working in partnership with its employees, all while silencing the workers and denying them their right to union representation and a collective voice. Starbucks calls its employees “partners”, but it is abundantly clear that this so-called partnership is one of convenience for the company, that leaves many employee concerns unheard. It is time for Starbucks to do the right thing, acknowledge the voice of their “partners”, and allow their workers to unionize without interference.”