In a Historic Vote on Wednesday, over 70% of Starbuck Workers Voted to Form a Union
PHILADELPHIA — Councilmembers Helen Gym and Kendra Brooks joined Philadelphia AFL-CIO President Patrick Eiding and Starbucks baristas from across Philadelphia to announce the successful unionization vote at four Philadelphia Starbucks locations: 3400 Civic Center Blvd; 34th and Walnut; 19th and Market; and 9th and South. These stores, representing dozens of Philadelphia Starbucks workers, are among 92 total Starbucks stores across 23 states to have unionized in the last six months.
“Philadelphia City Council has been deeply invested in uplifting the rights of workers and modernizing labor rights that have been, for too long, stagnant in this country,” said Councilmember Helen Gym (At-Large). “It’s why we passed a bold Fair Workweek law that benefited workers here at Starbucks, and more than 130,000 workers across Philadelphia. It’s why we passed an anti-retaliation law and paid sick leave. I’m thrilled to celebrate this victory, and let all working Philadelphians know that our city is strong when our unions are strong.”
Earlier this year, City Council unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Councilmembers Gym and Brooks expressing “firm support for workers at Starbucks in Philadelphia who are attempting to form a union, and urging Starbucks to accept card check neutrality.” A union vote for the 12th and Walnut Starbucks is scheduled for next month.
“This is the beginning of something great,” said Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At-Large). “I am so proud to stand here, as a Councilwoman and as a former union member, to celebrate this win, and to let coffee shop workers across the city know that together, we can win so much more.”
“When talking about better working conditions at Starbucks, us partners are all too used to asking ourselves “what if?” “if only?” and “wouldn’t it be nice?” said Amalia-Jade Inkeles, Barista at the 20th and Market Starbucks store. “Wouldn’t it be nice if workload was contingent on our capacity rather than our capacity being tried by our workload? What if our wages and hours paid for more than rent, food, and utilities, if just those at all? If only Starbucks heeded our words so we need not pray for sporadic good will. The days of these questions are coming to an end.”
“For the first time since I have started working in the service industry, work isn’t a hopeless place,” said Lua Riley, Barista at the 9th and South Starbucks store. “Today, we can stand shoulder to shoulder, and know that the fight is far from over, but we are on the path to creating a better future, not just for ourselves, but all service workers.”
“We have to give these workers a voice,” said Patrick Eiding, Philadelphia AFL-CIO President. “What they’re looking for is to have a clean place to work, a place they’ll be treated decently, a safe place to work, while being paid something commensurate with what they need to take care of their families. I give credit to these workers, because they’re doing it in the toughest atmosphere — they really are.”
Pictured, from left to right: Amalia-Jade Inkeles (Barista), Patrick Eiding (AFL-CIO), Helen Gym (City Council), Lua Riley (Barista), Kendra Brooks (City Council), Colter Chatriand (Barista), and Daniel Bauder (AFL-CIO).