A Great Neck Starbucks location, along with four other Starbucks stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, filed a petition Thursday to unionize through Workers United NY/NJ Regional Joint Board, following dozens of other Starbucks that have recently filed for unionization throughout the country.
Fifteen store employees of the Starbucks at 6 Great Neck Rd. signed a letter to Starbucks CEO and President Kevin Johnson stating their decision to unionize and asking that the multi-billion dollar company sign off on it. This is the latest Starbucks store to demand unionization – a total of 72 have now filed union petitions nationwide, 16 of them in New York.
“Our goal in unionizing is to make you hear us, and to let us have power in relation to our labor, rather than alienation from it,” Great Neck Starbucks workers wrote in the letter. “We, as partners, are the ones building the wealth of Starbucks, a company worth billions of dollars, and it is time we get our fair share, a voice at work, and a seat at the table.”
Joselyn Chuquillanqui, a Great Neck Starbucks employee, said in a statement that the labor issues at Starbucks stem from “the way this corporation is structured.” She noted the problems remained working at three different Starbucks stores under nine different managers over seven years.
“Starbucks claims to have a humanitarian approach to the way they do business,” she said. “They call us ‘partners’ and create an image that they care about us and that we have a voice and can speak about our concerns. But every time I have raised a concern I have been ignored or vilified.
“I am tired of being exploited and I am tired of seeing other baristas being chastised when they care about their own safety or about the safety of their families and community,” she continued. “These problems are not new, but they have gotten worse with Covid-19. I am joining the union because we deserve a voice, we matter. We are not cogs in a machine, we are people who deserve to get a say in our work.”
If their wishes are granted, the five New York stores that petitioned would join Starbucks Workers United. They gained support from 76 New York elected officials who also wrote to Johnson on their behalf, including Long Island politicians State Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport) and Assemblymember Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont).