KITCHENER, Ont. – Partners at the Fairway Plaza Starbucks location in Kitchener, Ont., are the newest employees to vote yes to joining the United Steelworkers union (USW). The vote took place over a 24-hour period, which ended yesterday, in the lead-up to Starbucks’s annual Red Cup Day*.
“There is real movement towards unionism in Starbucks stores,” said Darlene Jalbert, USW District 6 Organizing Co-ordinator. “We are getting a lot of calls and are talking to Partners at various Starbucks to get their union campaigns going.”
Partners at the Fairway Plaza location have cited the cutting of hours at the store as a reason to form their union. This results in Partners doing more with less staff, as well as undependable hours allocation.
While Starbucks boasts about its benefit packages, it’s difficult for Partners to qualify for benefits due to lack of working hours.
“I am elated to see the outpouring of support from my fellow Partners in our push to unionize our workplace,” said Saman R., who works at the Fairway Plaza store. “The company’s systemic inadequacy to address the deterioration of our work environment has only strengthened our resolve to bring forth a union – a powerful, actionable way to negotiate for the support we need, want and deserve.”
Partners have also cited health and safety concerns raised at the store have largely been ignored by management. Promotional days like Red Cup Day are especially demanding for Partners heightening the risks of injury. Partners say, enough is enough!
“I value the work we have done immensely. I am a strong believer of our team having a unified voice and strengthening our store to be a place where our rights and choices matter,” said Alexa, another Partner working at the Fairway Plaza store.
“Congratulations and welcome to the United Steelworkers union,” said Myles Sullivan, USW District 6 Director (Ontario and Atlantic Canada). “Starbucks Partners are a growing number in our union and we are honoured that you chose the Steelworkers to represent you.”
*The Red Cup holiday season is the busiest time for Starbucks and there are additional pressures on Partners. Starbucks Partners/workers across Canada and the United States are taking part in actions to support the various unionized Starbucks locations in their quest to have better working conditions, proper health and safety in the workplace, a fair bargaining process and more.
The USW represents Starbucks workers at stores in Calgary, Edmonton and Sherwood Park in Alberta; Victoria, Surrey and Langley in B.C., and in Waterloo and Ajax in Ontario.
The USW also represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.
Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.
Ontario workers who want to learn more about forming a union with the USW can contact Darlene Jalbert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-362-4414. All contact is confidential.
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