Old Orchard Starbucks employees vote to unionize


Daily file photo by Anita Li

Starbucks logo. Employees of Evanston’s Main Street Starbucks location voted to unionize Thursday.

Aviva Bechky, City Editor

Employees of the Starbucks at Westfield Old Orchard decided to unionize in a 10-6 vote Thursday. 

Organizer and shift supervisor Tino Luna said he was thrilled about the victory.

“It offers a sense of community, like (with) collective bargaining,” Luna said. “I’ve had complaints since I started working, and none of them were addressed.”

Luna said he’s hoping to bargain for higher wages for workers, especially baristas. Organizers began to discuss unionizing in October and officially filed their petition in December, according to Luna.

In the lead-up to the election, however, Luna said Starbucks managers worked to dissuade unionization, such as by telling workers they wouldn’t be promoted if they voted to unionize. Starbucks has taken an aggressive approach to union-busting nationwide, according to reporting by Slate and NPR, among other outlets.

Now, Luna said he’s following efforts to unionize other nearby Starbucks locations — including the store on Evanston’s Main Street, where workers also filed a petition to unionize last month. 

In the past year, Starbucks workers across the Chicago area have voted to unionize. In October, however, the company closed the Edgewater location, which had been one of the first in the area to unionize. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @avivabechky

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