© 2024 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Chad Daybell's murder trial has begun. Follow along here.
A regional collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Starbucks workers make another push to unionize shops, including in the Mountain West

Starbucks employees and supporters link arms during a union election watch party Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. The workers' union, Starbucks United, recently had 20 stores in about a dozen states vote to unionize recently.
Joshua Bessex
/
Associated Press
Starbucks employees and supporters link arms during a union election watch party Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. The workers' union, Starbucks United, recently had 20 stores in about a dozen states vote to unionize recently.

Hundreds of Starbucks shops across the country have voted to unionize. Since the first Starbucks employees voted to unionize in New York in 2021, hundreds of locations across the country have done the same.

Recently, Starbucks workers held one of their biggest unionization efforts including many locations in our region. Last week, another 20 stores across nearly a dozen states voted to unionize.

Fenris Larsen is an organizer with Starbucks United, who works at the first shop in Reno, Nev., that voted to unionize. Larsen said pay and benefits are just part of their goals. While technology has made it easier to communicate with colleagues, he said the opposite is taking place between management and workers, and having a say in decisions that affect their working conditions is also important.

“There's this bigger and bigger disconnect between management and CEOs that trickles down," Larsen said. "There's so much less communication that we get from corporate direct than us as individuals working in the stores,”

Larsen also said the success of unions representing workers in a variety of fields from auto workers to hospitality workers to culinary workers is sending a strong message to workers everywhere.

“Starbucks is one of the biggest, well-known name brands in the country," he said. "I can't imagine that other industries aren't looking at it and seeing that it's possible."

In response to the unionization movement, Starbucks spokesman Andrew Trull released a statement: "While we believe our direct relationship as partners is core to our culture and our continued improvements to the partner experience, we respect the rights of partners to organize and reaffirm our aim to negotiate first contracts for represented stores this year.

"We encourage all partners at stores petitioning for representation to get the facts, make an informed choice and ensure their voice is heard by voting in neutral, secret-ballot elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. Our aim will be to ensure the process is fair and our partners’ voices are heard."

The nearly 400 shops which have voted to unionize represent less than 3% of all Starbucks locations across the country.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Tags
Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.

You make stories like this possible.

The biggest portion of Boise State Public Radio's funding comes from readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

Your donation today helps make our local reporting free for our entire community.