Portland is nine for nine in Starbucks union elections

By COLIN STAUB

Workers at four more Portland-area Starbucks stores voted to unionize with Starbucks Workers United over the past two weeks, including one store where tensions ran high during the organizing effort and a worker was fired allegedly in retaliation.

In three of the stores, mail ballots counted on June 2 showed strong majority support for the union:

  • 16175 SW Walker Road, Beaverton: 12-5
  • 2933 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton: 10-2
  • 7315 SW Garden Home Road, Portland: 12-1

The next ballots were counted June 7 for workers at the Jantzen Beach Starbucks, 12235 N Center Ave., who voted 10-5 to unionize. Three other ballots were set aside because of legal objections about whether those workers were eligible to vote. Starbucks attorneys objected to one worker who’s no longer employed at the store, but union attorney Alyssa Garcia countered that the worker was fired unlawfully during the union campaign and should have the right to vote on the union.

During the campaign, union supporters held a rally outside the Jantzen Beach store, and management closed the store temporarily. Workers also held a one-day strike even before they asked for the union election—to protest the company’s anti-union tactics.

“It was tense,” said barista Jordan Stephen, describing the mood at the store in the weeks leading up to the vote. “There was definitely a lot of anxiety.”

Barista Trey Hawthorne said workers’ hours were cut substantially during the campaign, more than at other Portland-area locations, seemingly in response to the union effort. That’s one point workers want to address in bargaining, he added.

Isabelle Loverich, a shift supervisor and volunteer union organizer at the Jantzen Beach store, saw her hours get cut as soon as the union campaign began. But that didn’t dampen her enthusiasm for organizing.

“It’s a really hard fight, but it’s incredibly worth it, and it’s incredibly empowering to know that you have power in your store as a worker,” Loverich said. “Because we do keep this company running, and we are the backbone of this company.”

The Jantzen Beach vote is the ninth straight union win at a Portland area Starbucks, with no losses as of yet. Workers at six other Oregon stores have requested union elections and are awaiting election dates or results. 

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