They came from very different backgrounds and different parts of the country, each with different reasons for seeking a job at Starbucks. Few of these workers had given any thought to unions when they started their jobs at the coffee chain. But now they are at the center of one of the most successful union organizing campaigns to take place in the United States in decades.
Naomi Martinez, 25, of Phoenix, started working at Starbucks two years ago so she could afford to finish school. The company offers tuition support for an online program at Arizona State University.
Michelle Eisen, 39, of Buffalo, New York, is the production stage manager at the local Irish Classical Theatre Company. She joined Starbucks in 2010 because she needed the health insurance.