Workers at the Ann Arbor Starbucks at 3650 Carpenter Rd. filed for a union election Tuesday morning.
The Carpenter location is the sixth Starbucks in Ann Arbor and the twelfth in Michigan to join the Starbucks Workers United wave sweeping across the country. Starbucks workers in Clinton Township, Grand Rapids, Flint, Grand Blanc, and Lansing have also joined the movement after being fed up with what they say is unfair treatment and low pay.
They hope the follow in the footsteps of Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York, who successfully formed the coffee chain’s first union at a company-owned shop in December.
“At Carpenter, we are organizing to hold Starbucks accountable and ask that you honor us as true partners by including us in the conversations and policies that directly affect our livelihood and impact the unique experiences we are able to provide for our customers,” Ann Arbor shop workers wrote in a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
Workers United International Vice President Kathy Hanshew echoed support, calling out the hypocrisy of Starbucks calling its workers “partners” while disregarding their concerns and creating unsafe working conditions. Workers United is organizing the national movement.
“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,” Hanshew said in a statement. “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.”
Workers at the pricey coffee chain have filed for a union election at dozens of locations across the country including Chicago, Boston, and Knoxville. The national chain isn’t the only one coming under fire, however.
Workers at Michigan-grown Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. in midtown Detroit have also filed for a union election. UNITE HERE Local 24 has filed an unfair labor practices charge against Great Lakes Coffee on behalf of the Detroit baristas and cooks who have been on strike for nearly two months.
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