West Allis Starbucks is the fifth in Wisconsin seeking to unionize

Starbucks partners from across the state, including Milwaukee, at an International Workers Day celebration in Madison. Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Polka.

Last updated on June 17th, 2022 at 01:55 pm

Just a few weeks after the first Starbucks Coffee location in the state voted to unionize, a fifth store in the state, this one in West Allis, is seeking to do the same.

Workers at the Starbucks café located at Highway 100 and National Avenue have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an election and demanded union recognition from local management and Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.

“Our desire to unionize goes beyond our personal gain, beyond our store, and even beyond our company,” said the West Allis workers in an email sent to Starbucks leadership. “The standard business model for multi-billion-dollar corporations has allowed for CEOs to make over 300 times that of the average worker. And though Starbucks offers a wage over the average amount for the American worker, this amount is not enough. The minimum wage, if adjusted for productivity, should be over $20 per hour. Partners are struggling to get by, and the company has the means to give us what we deserve.”

The West Allis baristas represent the second Milwaukee-area store to seek unionization. They’re the fifth store in the state to join the Starbucks Workers United movement. The organization’s website says over 150 Starbucks stores are currently taking part in unionizing efforts.

“Starbucks is a multi-million-dollar corporation that tries to pride itself on working in partnership with its employees, all while silencing the workers and denying them their right to union representation and a collective voice,” said Kathy Hanshew, vice president of Workers United International. “Starbucks calls its employees ‘partners,’ but it is abundantly clear that this so-called partnership is one of convenience for the company, that leaves many employee concerns unheard. It is time for Starbucks to do the right thing, acknowledge the voice of their ‘partners,’ and allow their workers to unionize without interference.”

In April, workers at the Starbucks café at 8880 S. Howell Ave. in Oak Creek became the first in the state to vote in favor of unionizing. The vote was 15-8 in favor of union representation.

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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