Starbucks Workers Are Now Organizing Unions in 100 Stores

The effort began with fewer than 10 shops announcing the intention to unionize.

Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

In December, a corporate-owned Starbucks in Buffalo, New York made history by becoming the first shop of its kind to unionize. Shortly after, handfuls of other stores across the country announced the intent to unionize. By the beginning of February, the number of stores had grown to 55 across 19 states. Now, before the month is even over, workers at 100 stores in 26 states have announced that they intend to unionize.

Starbucks Workers United is organizing workers across the country. Right now, many of these union drives are in early stages and haven't had official elections overseen by the National Labor Relations Review Board. These 100 stores are a small percentage of the 9,000 Starbucks stores that the corporate offices operate. But some of the stores that have announced intent to unionize are located in Seattle and New York City, which are essential locations for the company.

The union efforts at Starbucks are part of a more significant wave of labor organizing happening across the country. The wide-reaching impact of Starbucks' labor organizing has partly been spearheaded by Gen Z, which could point to a more significant shift in the future of work.

"I care about movements that want to make a place where the workplace is democratized, where people are able to, you know, figure out what is best together," Miguel Pérez-Glassner, a barista at the New York City Reserve Roastery, told Restaurant Dive. "People in management positions don't necessarily know what's going on with people on the floor… that's a big disconnect… that collective bargaining, and unionizing would really, really help people with."

You can see a complete map of every store that has announced intent to unionize on More Perfect Union's website.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.