Workers at the Dunbar Street Starbucks store in Vancouver have decided to take a stand for better working conditions and wages by joining the United Steelworkers union (USW).
“I chose to join the USW to improve workplace safety, seek a better wage in the current economic climate and demand better staffing to protect the mental health of our partners,” said Frédérique Martineau, a Starbucks partner at the Dunbar Street store.
“Starbucks Dunbar is a cozy and warm store when it functions smoothly, and I wanted to protect this for our customers and my fellow partners. One of my favourite aspects of being a barista is that I get to connect with customers. By improving safety, mental health and staffing, we can continue to make those connections and engage with our customers,” added Martineau.
Workers at the Dunbar store feel they deserve better to improve morale, and joining a union was the only way to make sure their voices were heard.
“The unionization experience was very positive as it gave us all a chance to reflect and brought us closer together as a team. I look forward to the improvements and the improved morale among baristas,” said Martineau.
This was an automatic union certification achieved through the new single-step certification process implemented by the B.C. NDP government. The 22 workers at the store, located at 4467 Dunbar St., will become members of USW Local 2009, which represents workers in a variety of industries in the lower mainland and Vancouver Island.
“The certification at the Dunbar store has shown that through collective action and courage, workers can make a real change to improve their working lives. Today’s victory should be a wake-up call for Starbucks, proving workers have the power to make a difference and that they should not be taken for granted,” said Scott Lunny, USW Director for Western Canada.
“I know the workers at the Dunbar store worked hard to make this certification happen. They worked hard to raise awareness within their group that they can exercise their very important right to have their voices heard to achieve a workplace that values them. I look forward to ensuring these workers achieve a first collective agreement that empowers them to secure the voice and respect they deserve,” said Lunny.
The Vancouver store becomes the fourth unionized corporate Starbucks store in British Columbia.
The USW represents Starbucks workers at stores in Surrey, Langley and Victoria in British Columbia and in Calgary and Sherwood Park in Alberta. 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.
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