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Workers at 5th Kansas City-area Starbucks file to become unionized

Posted at 9:04 AM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-02 16:23:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A fifth Starbucks location in the Kansas City area plans to file for a National Labor Relations Board election later Thursday, according to Workers United/SEIU organizer Mari Orrego.

Located at 23rd and Lee's Summit, 1516 A East 23rd Street in Independence, this is the second store in Independence to join the Starbucks Workers United movement.

Early Thursday morning, workers at the 23rd and Lee’s Summit location sent an email to Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz citing cut hours paired with inflation as partial reasoning for unionization.

Part of the letter, provided by Orrego, reads:

“…Several partners at our store have had their hours cut, pushing them even more into living paycheck-to-paycheck among record inflation and record profits for Starbucks. The wage increases we were promised at the end of June continually got pushed back until August 1st, and even then, those have been threatened if we dare speak even the idea of unionizing. We will not sit idly by, afraid of the threat of illegal retaliation. Rather, we will stay for and firmly demand our rights as workers to a fair and democratic workplace. We will not wait for corporate to begrudgingly hand out inadequate wages and benefits, we will demand those that we deserve…”

Supporters of the decision to unionize are hopeful this move will gain attention and inspire even more area Starbucks to unionize.

“Don’t let anyone in your store or from corporate intimidate you from standing up for your partners,” supporter April Wickham said in a news release.

The first store to unionize in Missouri was the Independence location at 18710 E. 39th St. And just last week, on June 22, the Starbucks at 41st and Main Street voted to unionize.

Two other locations in the KC area are in the middle of unionizing efforts.

Workers at the Country Club Plaza Starbucks voted nine in favor and nine against unionizing with three challenged ballots. As the challenged ballots could flip the vote, the National Labor Relations Board is looking into the vote.

An NLRB spokesperson said the regional director will decide which or if any ballots should be opened and counted. However, a timeline is not available.

The other location in the process of unionizing is in Overland Park at W. 75th Street and Interstate 35. While a unionization vote passed 6-1 on April 8, the result was objected by Starbucks attorneys.