Thursday, December 8, 2022

3 Lansing area Starbucks vote to unionize, 1 votes against

June 9, 2022
<p>The Starbucks on Lake Lansing Rd. voted 13-3 in favor of a union on June 9, 2022.</p>

The Starbucks on Lake Lansing Rd. voted 13-3 in favor of a union on June 9, 2022.

Photo by Sheldon Krause | The State News

The National Labor Relations Board counted ballots for the Starbucks union election on June 9. Three locations around Lansing won the vote, securing the election of their unions.

These locations included Lake Lansing, Stoddard and Clinton Township. The Clinton Township location won in an 8-3 vote, Lake Lansing with 13-3 and Stoddard with 19-0. With a vote of 8-14, Grand Blanc will not be unionizing.

Supporters gathered in the Lake Lansing and Stoddard Starbucks' lobbies for a watch party with signs, pizza and cookies to celebrate the union election. The energy was high as baristas and workers from different locations huddled around a laptop, watching the vote count. Cheers erupted at the Lake Lansing Starbucks after the vote was counted, and a supporter took a megaphone to announce, "You are now drinking union coffee."

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Stoddard Starbucks shift supervisor and union organizer Emily Grasel attended the watch party in Ann Arbor and said they appreciate the support from different locations.

"A couple of (Ann Arbor supporters) just showed up here too, so that's awesome," Grasel said. "It's really growing in Michigan right now ... it's really cool to be able to actually see all the stores coming together because I do feel like, as there (are) only two stores in our district that have filed, we do try to support each other."

Grasel said this union election is important for workers to be able to stand up for themselves.

"That's one of our main reasons for unionizing is that we have voiced all of our concerns multiple times, and then nothing ever happens about them, " Grasel said. "It's just really solidifying that we do have a voice now and making them accountable; they have to do something now."

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The election of the union means that all Starbucks employees at that location will be a part of the union. Lake Lansing Starbucks barista and organizing committee member Grace Norris said the union grants workers three basic rights: the right to bargain, protection against unilateral policy changes and Weingarten rights, meaning employees can request their representatives for support.

"If we're ever in a conversation with, like, a manager or district manager and we anticipate it (could be) moving toward disciplinary action, we're allowed to stop the conversation and wait for a union representative," Norris said. "Honestly, it really does just mean that we have a lot more work to do, but at least the work we have to do is a lot clearer with contract negotiations."

Norris said she had already planned when the general meeting would be. Moving forward, she hopes to see more of a national campaign.

"Starbucks is deliberately holding up the contract process for everyone, so if we all work at it together and we try to apply some more public pressure, I think that's the strategy," Norris said.

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