Sherman Avenue Starbucks votes 12-4 to unionize


Photo courtesy of Sarah Wachs

Employees of the Sherman Avenue Starbucks after they filed for unionization on May 3.

Shannon Tyler, Senior Staffer

Employees at Starbucks on Sherman Avenue and Clark Street voted 12-4 to unionize Thursday. 

The store joined the national Starbucks Workers United movement when several of its employees filed for unionization in early May. 

Employees outlined in a letter to management and the corporation the issues they faced, including discrimination based on religious identity, lack of protection for transgender employees, issues with communication and understaffing and underscheduling. They also noted a lack of support from the corporation. 

Employee and Weinberg sophomore Sarah Wachs said the overwhelming majority voting in favor of the union points to how eager union supporters are to see change in the store. 

“Our union victory is representative of all of the hard work that our partners have put in, all of the pain and suffering that we have faced and the true power of our little family,” Wachs said. 

With an officially organized union, the staff has the right to draft and collectively bargain a contract with the Starbucks corporation. They will also have a union representative present in any conversation with management that could lead to disciplinary action. 

But for now, Wachs said the store has to wait for the corporation to agree to bargain with them and make a contract. 

Several Starbucks in Chicago have unionized within the past year, and both the Starbucks in Old Orchard and on Main Street unionized in January. 

“All of us finally will get to have a say in how we work, how we are treated and how we sustain our lives,” Wachs said. “Getting this union gives us security that we did not have before.”

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Twitter: @shannonmtyer

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