NewsLocal News


Workers at Santa Maria Starbucks location petition to unionize

Posted at 5:02 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 22:48:12-04

More than 200 Starbucks coffee shops nationwide have voted in favor of unionization since December of last year. Next month, the Starbucks location on South Broadway and McCoy Lane in Santa Maria could be added to the list.

"You know, I always thought of Starbucks as a happy camper and everyone was happy. I didn't think it was a problem for them," said customer Ron Koch.

But ever since a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York first filed petitions to unionize, Starbucks workers nationwide have been advocating for safer working conditions, better benefits and higher wages.

"Not having input on the conditions in our store, changes none of us on the local level really like," shift supervisor for Starbucks, Jaylee Moore, tells KSBY. "We just decided to form a union to be able to have a say in our workplace."

The National Labor Relations Board requires at least 30% of a store's workers to file a union card to petition for a union election. Moore says over 70% of their staff have signed on, with an election to follow.

"Voting starts on Sept. 9. That is when we will start receiving our ballots, then they are due by Sept. 30 and then our vote count will be on Oct. 3," Moore added.

Unionizing Starbucks locations are represented by Starbucks Workers United, a countrywide collective of Starbucks partners aimed at bringing better working conditions to the coffee giant's employees.

Moore says that some of their regular customers have also voiced support.

"If it is good for people, then that is the way it should be. I mean, I think it is a good thing," Koch added.

"We have had a lot of people come through our drive-thru, come in our lobby, giving us words of encouragement. It has been very encouraging to hear," Moore said.

A Starbucks spokesperson sent the following statement to KSBY:

"We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country. We’ve been clear that we respect all our partners’ voices and their legal right to organize.

From the beginning, we’ve also been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed.

As we’ve said throughout, we will respect the NLRB’s process and bargain in good faith with the stores that chose to be represented by Workers United. We hope the union does the same."

KSBY also reached out to workers at the other Starbucks locations in Santa Maria, who say they do not have any plans to unionize anytime soon.