APPLETON – Employees at the Starbucks on Northland Avenue gathered last Thursday afternoon to watch the National Labor Relations Board count their ballots for a union representation election that began in April.
Just two months after Madeline McDermott brought forward the idea of a union to her coworkers, the employees won in a 10-7 vote.
McDermott, a Starbucks employee for three years, had been frustrated at the decline in quality in the store and treatment from her managers.
More:Working conditions and wages led these local Starbucks employees to try to organize a union
More:Oak Creek Starbucks becomes first location in Wisconsin to unionize, joining wave of other locations across the country
More:Starbucks employees in Plover plan to unionize, join national movement
Issues about hourly pay, benefits, shortened hours, poor COVID-19 safety precautions and more were also causing tensions between employees and managers.
On April 8, the Northland Avenue store’s employees petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a union representation election. That same day, employees delivered a letter to the Starbucks CEO, Howard Shultz, expressing their intent to unionize.
“Over the past year, it has become apparent that the growth of the company is put above everything else, even at the expense of those who are meant to grow with it,” the letter stated. “Within the past months this has become ever more apparent. With hours slashed and rising costs of living impacting us simultaneously, many partners have been struggling to stay afloat.”
The employees became the fourth in Wisconsin to join the Starbucks Workers United movement, a nationwide project that was started in an attempt to create a better and safer workplace for all Starbucks employees.
According to a news release, employees at more than 200 Starbucks locations nationwide have filed for a union representation election, and more than 160 stores have won representation so far.
Now, the Northland Avenue employees join employees in Milwaukee and Plover as successfully unionized stores in Wisconsin.
McDermott and her coworkers hoped to negotiate changes in benefits, wages, better work hours and vacation time, the ability for customers to tip virtually and proper training for new employees once they won representation.
McDermott was not immediately available for comment.
Reach Jelissa Burns at 920-226-4241 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @burns_jelissa or on Instagram at burns_jelissa.