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Anderson Township Starbucks baristas want to unionize

Sorin Sîrbu

Baristas at the Starbucks on the corner of Beechmont and Five Mile Road in Anderson Township have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election.

The group of Cincinnati baristas are joined by eight other groups of workers at Starbucks locations across the country who also filed for union elections this week. Starbucks Workers United, the worker-led organization that represents more than 10,000 unionized Starbucks employees, says it expects more filings to come later this month.

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Starbucks partners from the stores that filed for elections this week penned a letter to CEO Laxman Narasimhan outlining the reasons for their intent to unionize.

Workers say schedules are not meeting their financial needs, claiming they don't receive enough hours to earn a living wage and can't take advantage of the company's employee benefits because they don't have enough hours to qualify for them. They also say workers at many locations don't have the staffing to keep up with the amount of business, forcing employees to do the work of multiple people without proper compensation. Organizers say this has led to employee burnout and a worse experience for costumers.

"Unionizing is our stand for fair treatment and respect," said Steven Applegate, a Starbucks partner for more than two years. "The Starbucks I once admired has changed, and not for the better. Returning has been a whole new experience, revealing a company that no longer embodies the principles it once stood for. By coming together, we aim to restore the values we believed in, ensuring that every worker is heard, respected, and treated fairly."

RELATED: Starbucks at 4th & Vine is first Cincinnati store to unionize

Since workers at a Starbuck's location in Buffalo, N.Y., filed their first petition to unionize in August 2021, Starbucks Workers United says employees at more than 460 Starbucks stores across 44 states and Washington D.C. have voted in favor of forming a union.

In 2022, Starbucks employees at a downtown Cincinnati store on 4th and Vine Street voted to unionize, becoming the first location in the Cincinnati area to do so.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.