Wantagh Starbucks Latest Store to Unionize on Long Island
Workers at the Wantagh Starbucks location voted 20-7 to unionize, Starbucks Workers United, the union under the New York-New Jersey Joint Regional Board, announced on Wednesday.
The union victory brings the number of unionized Starbucks locations to four on Long Island, 12 in downstate New York, and more than 230 nationwide. In addition to the Wantagh Starbucks, others that have successfully joined the union on Long Island are in Massapequa, Westbury Plaza, and Farmingville.
“It’s a message that we don’t have to accept that this is the way things are. That we have the ability to collectively decide that we deserve better from these companies that we make so much money for,” said Sam Tamborello, a Wantagh Starbucks employee for about a year. “It tells corporate that the union-busting scare tactics are not working against a workforce united.”
“To me, this is a victory for my partners and myself in standing up for our rights in the workplace,” added Jake MacAvoy, an employee of Wantagh Starbucks for four years.
At a Starbucks location in Great Neck, Starbucks Workers United alleges that union-busting caused a union vote to fail in the spring. Months later, the store manager fired Joselyn Chuquillanqui, a lead union organizer. It is the only Starbucks to have a union vote fail on Long Island so far.
Chuquillanqui’s firing came after Starbucks employee and union leader Austin Locke was fired from a Starbucks in Astoria, Queens. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and State Senator Anna Kaplan, along with several New York City elected officials, sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and local Starbucks managers in Great Neck and Astoria condemning the firings.
“I am deeply disturbed by the developments at these Starbucks locations in Queens and Great Neck,” Gillibrand said. “Workers have the right to organize and collectively bargain if they so choose, and I’m proud to join my colleagues standing in solidarity with Austin and Joselyn.”
Starbucks Workers United also announced on Wednesday that a Starbucks store in Staten Island voted unanimously to unionize, with all 15 workers voting to become the first unionized Starbucks in the New York City borough.