East Main Street Starbucks workers announce unionization effort

MADISON, Wis. — Workers at the Starbucks on East Main Street in Madison are trying to unionize.

The hourly workers filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a union representation election on Tuesday, according to the Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board of Workers United.

According to the CMJRB, a majority of workers signed union authorization cards. The workers are looking to join the nationwide Starbucks Workers United effort. Similar unionization efforts have taken place in Buffalo, Seattle, and Mesa, Ariz.

“We stand proudly in solidarity with these courageous young workers who came together hoping to build a better future for themselves and our community,” Wisconsin South Central Federation of Labor president Kevin Gundlach said in a statement. “We are union strong in Madison, Wisconsin!”

The workers sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Tuesday, the CMJRB said. You can read that letter in full below.

“How could we stay seated during this historic movement when our store’s location forces us to consider the importance of democracy and equality in decision-making in the workplace every day? We walk right past our state capitol building before clocking into each shift, reminded of Wisconsin’s struggle for justice at work. We will not give in to one-sided corporate decision-making when right outside our doors Wisconsinites have gathered for over a century to protest for what they believe in. Our wonderful customers, the Madison community, and the brave activism of Starbucks’ partners across the country have inspired us to finally make a change.”

This is the first Starbucks in Madison to organize a union.