Lansing Starbucks, 3 other Michigan locations, may unionize

Workers formally made the request in a letter emailed Friday to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson
Lansing Starbucks, 3 other Michigan locations, may unionize
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 11:58 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Four Michigan Starbucks stores, including one in Lansing, may unionize. The move comes only two months after workers at a corporate Starbucks in Buffalo, NY voted to become the first such union in the US.

The Lansing location would be joined by three stores in Ann Arbor. There are more than 8,000 corporate Starbucks locations in the US.

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Workers from the Lansing store expressed their reasoning in a letter emailed Friday to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, which was signed by the store’s union organizing committee.

“Time and time again, we have attempted to work with managers of all levels for store improvement, but little has been done to help those of us on the floor,” organizers wrote. “...We are now unionizing to hold Starbucks accountable and improve our workplace in the way we need. Our store fosters a very close community among partners, and we intend on standing in solidarity with each other through this process and beyond.”

Spokesperson for Starbucks told News 10 employees across the company are making at least $14 an hour right now. Wage range expected to be $15 to $23 by the summer of 2022.

The company spokesperson said all employees get health care, mental health counseling, tuition coverage if they’re getting a bachelor’s degree, paid time off to self-isolate during COVID and paid time off to get vaccinated.

They said the company believes it’s best for workers to not unionize.

“We believe that our success as a company in the past and moving forward is rooted in the direct relationship we have in one another,” they said.

However, if workers do unionize, the spokesperson says the company will “bargain in good faith.”

“Regardless of the outcome, it doesn’t change how we show up for each other and who we are as a company,” they said.

These would not be the first Michigan stores to take steps towards unionizing. Baristas in Ann Arbor, Grand Blanc, and Clinton Township also announced their intention to unionize on Jan. 28.

Representatives of the Starbucks workers said they have received assistance from Workers United, the same union that backed the chain in Buffalo, NY.

Workers at the Lansing store have already filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. They would have to pass a vote by store employees to become a recognized union.

The full letter from the Lansing store organizers to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is included below.

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