For Reese Mercado, the decision to unionize came after they watched a customer physically assault a former coworker over enforcing vaccine requirements at their Starbucks store. For Hayleigh Fagan, it was when she got a company-wide letter from the Starbucks Vice President telling employees not to unionize. For Hope Liepe, it was the hypocrisy of calling employees “partners” but not treating them that way.
Since the first corporate Starbucks location voted to unionize late last year, 17 others have voted. Only one store has voted against unionizing. Just this week, seven more Starbucks, one in Buffalo and two in Rochester, three in Ithaca, and one in Kansas City, voted yes on unionizing. Last week, the company’s flagship store in Manhattan, which voted 46-36, became the largest to unionize. One of just three Starbucks roasteries in the country, the Manhattan location is an important milestone for the Starbucks union since it has many more employees (nearly 100) than a typical Starbucks and shows that the Starbucks union can be successful in the company’s manufacturing arm as well. Even more notable, these Starbucks have voted yes in the notoriously difficult-to-unionize food services industry, where high rates of turnover and a more easily replaceable workforce make union organizing extremely difficult.