Starbucks Union Scores First Unanimous Win in the South

Starbucks workers have voted unanimously to unionize at a South Carolina store, marking the union’s second win in the least unionized state in the country.

The Starbucks Anderson location, South Carolina voted 18 to 0 to unionize, marking the union’s first unanimous win in the South, according to Starbucks Workers United. The store was the thirdTo file a union petition with the state, citing grievances concerning pay and working conditions.

“[A]s it stands currently, corporate is severely out of touch with what goes on inside our cafe,” the workers wrote in their letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announcing their union effort in March. “Every opportunity for improvement is met with pushback by corporate as the [company] seeks profit over ethics.”

The union’s victory is especially remarkable in South Carolina, the state with the lowest union density in the U.S., at only 1.7 percentAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021, unionization is expected. The national average union membership rate was 10.3 percent last year.

The union was established last week. The company opened its first storeGreenville, South Carolina, voted 8-1 for the union. Greenville has been described in previous decades as one of the “most relentlessly anti-union cities in the nation,” John Logan noted for Truthout. The state has a long history of deep-rooted anti-union sentimentAnd so-called right-to-workUnions are unable to organize and represent workers because of laws.

The win is one more in a small mountain. FridayThe union reached 100 unionized stores in its first year, which was more than any other union. 270 union filingsMore filings are coming almost every day. Only 13 stores have lost their elections, including six stores in the South — meaning that the union’s success rate is nearly 90 percent. This is a remarkable rate considering the union’s large membership. of young organizersAccording to labor experts, these are labor organizers who are boldly breaking traditional labor organizing rules.

As workers have formed unions, they’re also organizing protests across the country, including a protest last week at another South Carolina location that’s in the midst of a union drive.

On Tuesday, workers at the Cleveland Circle location in Boston began a one-day strikeThey protest the store’s poor infrastructure. The workers wrote to management to complain that water was still pooling on the floor from large water leaks in their ceilings. This continued for hours. The store recently voted to unionize.

Workers wrote that the leaks occurred every time it rains. This meant workers were at risk for falling or slipping while they worked. Workers were also left wondering if they would be eligible for hazard pay if the store was closed because of the leak.

“Lack of communication and guidance from upper management, especially under these conditions, is unacceptable,” the workers said. They intend to return to work once the strike ends at 9 p.m. on Monday, subject to the company fixing safety hazards in the store.