Lawrence Starbucks workers vote overwhelmingly to unionize

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Article updated at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, June 7:

Workers of the Starbucks at 23rd and Ousdahl in Lawrence have voted 19-3 to unionize their store.


Ballots were counted during a Zoom meeting Tuesday afternoon. There was one ballot challenged, but that was not enough to affect the results.

“We know there is more work to be done as we move into the next phase of our organizing, but we’re happy to be pushing this movement forward, and we’re proud to be yet another Starbucks on the map that will, from now on, be brewing all of our coffee Union Strong,” workers said in a statement released after the vote.

In March, nearly three dozen employees of the store signed a letter to the company’s interim CEO, Howard Schultz. Workers wrote in the letter that Starbucks refers to those who wear the green apron as “partners,” but they are partners in name only, and they’re left with no other choice but to organize in order to “rebalance the scales of this relationship.”

The workers are organizing with Workers United and Starbucks Workers United with a goal of improving the quality of life and work life for all their store employees, including managers, shift managers and baristas.

“We are all thrilled with the results in Lawrence and very much looking forward to offering our continued support as the Partners strive to achieve their first contract and the dignity and respect they so rightfully deserve,” Workers United International Vice President Kathy Hanshew said in the statement. “All power to the Starbucks workers! This is a huge step forward for their movement and for all workers in Missouri and the Midwest.”

Five other stores in the Midwest also won union elections on Tuesday, according to Workers United.

Nationwide, workers at 287 Starbucks stores in 38 states have filed to unionize, according to a Tuesday update from More Perfect Union, and 124 stores have won union elections.

Workers at a store in Overland Park held a strike on March 19 in response to what they said are unfair working conditions and retaliation, KCUR reported. Last month, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against two Overland Park-area Starbucks for allegedly preventing employees from exercising their legal right to organize, the Kansas News Service reported.

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