GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Employees at the Burton Street Starbucks in Grand Rapids voted to unionize Friday, after feeling unsupported by the company.
The Starbucks is located at 2580 Burton Street SE in Grand Rapids.
According to a spokesperson from Service Employee International Union (SEIU), Starbucks employees voted 15-3 in favor of a union.
Employees say they hope this necessary change will create a supportive environment where they can have more say in day to day operations at the store. Right now, employees say managers are not scheduling enough people to work, despite having the staffing to do so.
"I'd like to see more support for my shift managers. I'm just a barista, and I watch my shift managers stress out and try and complete everything, and it's just not manageable," said employee Joshua Beuker.
"Giving them more support, more opportunities, and more tools I think would be a really big first step on the road to having a good workplace."
Starbucks released a statement Friday regarding the vote:
“We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country. From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed. We respect our partner’s right to organize and are committed to following the NLRB process.”
According to SEIU, the next step in the process will be negotiating a contract with the company. The focus of the contract will be to increase pay, improve benefits and having more say in day to day operations.
Multiple national polls show growing support for unions among young people, and at the Grand Rapids location, that youth movement is led and supported this effort to unionize.
"People our age are feeling more encouraged and empowered to speak out about things that matter to us, because when it comes down to it, we're the ones that are growing up in this time now, so we're going to be the ones making decisions in the future," said employee Meredith Ivory.
Similar efforts to unionize were recently announced by Starbucks partners from Buffalo, Memphis and Phoenix.
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