Workers vote to make Grand Rapids Starbucks first union store in Michigan

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Posted at 11:31 PM, May 13, 2022

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXMI) — Workers at a Starbucks in Grand Rapids voted to unionize on Friday.

The Burton Street Starbucks will become the first unionized Starbucks in the state following Friday’s vote.

This comes after the store's baristas stood together on March 7 to announce their path towards unionization.

In a letter to Kevin Johnson, the former Starbucks CEO, workers cited unsafe working conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic including “extreme staffing shortages” and insufficient pay.

When the Burton Street workers first came together to unionize, an overwhelming majority of them signed union authorization cards.

Starbucks released a statement to FOX 17, WXYZ's Grand Rapids sister station, after workers sent a letter to corporate explaining why they believe a union would make the store better. Starbucks responded, saying:

“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.”

Despite corporate's response, 15 workers at the Burton Street Starbucks voted to unionize.