Workers posing on signing day

Early Monday morning, the hourly workers at Starbucks, located at 1784 North High St., petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an election and demanded union recognition from CEO  Howard Schultz and local management. An overwhelming majority of workers at the store signed union authorization cards and a petition demanding union recognition.

These baristas are the third in Columbus and the ninth in Ohio to join the Starbucks Workers United movement that has swept across the country. Workers at the international coffee chain have filed for elections at hundreds of locations across the country and have won representation in over two hundred and fifty of them. 

These coffee workers join with their union siblings downtown at the 88 Broad St. location and in Westerville at the South State St. store in demanding dignity, respect and improvements at their workplace. This petition highlights the growth of the movement in the Midwest, where union density among Starbucks shops in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois grows to rival the spread of the campaign in the company’s historic strongholds of Seattle and New York.

The High St. café is staffed primarily by OSU students, giving these workers a unique perspective and demands of their employer. In a letter signed by a majority of the workers and e-mailed today to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, the staff expressed clear resolve in organizing their workplace:

“As a campus store, our needs are specific: Partners travel to their homes during academic breaks and deserve to be secure in their employment when they return. We work to pay rent and tuition, to keep food on the table, and to have healthcare. No one should be robbed of these basic rights in the name of corporate greed and favoritism.”

 Hannah Wright, a shift supervisor at the High St. location, voiced her conviction:

“College students deserve a job that works for them. We know that this store and this company is capable of so much more and so we chose to organize and speak up on behalf of our fellow partners. We look forward to seeing real, tangible change.”

Across the country, Starbucks workers are organizing with Workers United (SEIU).