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Millrise Centre Starbucks workers win union vote becoming first unionized store in Alberta

July 12, 2022 | Media Releases

Workers at the Calgary Millrise Centre Starbucks, 150 Millrise Blvd. SW in Calgary, have won their unionization vote to join the United Steelworkers union (USW), becoming the first unionized Starbucks store in Alberta.

“Our location has been more than willing to provide world-class service no matter the challenge we faced. Whether it was floods, tornados or even a pandemic, we worked through these challenges while maintaining a welcoming and affirming experience for our customers. But shipping issues, quality concerns and safety problems have slowly become daily issues instead of occasional challenges,” said Chey Watson (they/them), a barista at the Millrise store.

“We want to provide the best for our customers. Having a seat at the table lets our frontline experiences be included in corporate decisions. We have valuable input that can improve our workplace and Starbucks’ reach. People in our store already look out for each other. Whether it’s our sense of community and friendship, or just knowing each other’s birthdays, there is an understood level of respect and responsibility that we share,” added Watson.

Following a mail-in ballot, the Alberta Labour Relations Board counted the workers’ votes today, with the majority in favour of joining the USW. The 32 workers at the Millrise store will become members of USW Local 1-207, representing workers in a variety of industries across Alberta.

“We are proud to welcome workers from the first unionized Starbucks store in Alberta to our growing union family,” said Scott Lunny, USW Director for Western Canada.

“It’s great to see workers coming together to demand better workplaces and we look forward to assisting them to be heard and garner the respect they deserve from Starbucks. The baristas in Calgary are joining the growing number of Starbucks workers across North America who are organizing for better working conditions and wages, including employees at five stores in Lethbridge who are currently voting to join our union,” Lunny said.

“The USW has been monumental in providing support and inspiration across Canada and the United States. Having their staff guide our team through the process has been incredibly crucial. We wouldn’t be able to see the changes we have already seen without them. Joining the USW gives me a sense of security, respect and appreciation. Now, we not only have each other’s backs but there is a global sense of unity,” said Watson.

The USW represents Starbucks workers in Victoria, Surrey and Langley in B.C. 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.

Workers interested in joining the United Steelworkers union can learn more about the benefits at betterworknow.ca or call 1-888-879-2411 (toll-free).

Scott Lunny, USW Western Canada Director, 604-329-5308, slunny@usw.ca
Brett Barden, USW Communications, 604-445-6956, bbarden@usw.ca

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