Labor & Business

Starbucks workers in Warwick hold informational picket ahead of unionization vote

“We feel really good about where we are,” said union organizer Cassie Burke, an employee at the Pace Blvd Starbucks. “Everyone’s on the same page; we’re ready to make this happen together.”
Photo for Starbucks workers in Warwick hold informational picket ahead of unionization vote

Published on May 29, 2022
By Steve Ahlquist

On April 6, 2022, Starbucks workers at the Pace Blvd store in Warwick became the first store in Rhode Island to file a petition to unionize. On Friday, ahead of the three day Memorial Day weekend, allies and workers gathered outside Starbucks as part of an informational picket to demonstrate solidarity and support for the effort.

To date, 68 Starbucks stores across the country have voted to unionize and 240 stores have begun the process towards unionization. Only four stores have voted against the effort to unionize. In Rhode Island, ballots have been released to the Pace Blvd Starbucks workers. They will submit their votes over the next couple of weeks, with the ballot count on June 14, 2022.

Starbucks has been aggressively fighting the union campaign. ”Starbucks has been acting very malignantly with all the unions. Things like firing people, things like cutting people’s hours, and that’s not the treatment of a corporation that actually cares,” said union organizer Cassie Burke, an employee at the Pace Blvd Starbucks.

As for how the effort to unionize is going at their store, Burke was confident. “We feel really good about where we are. Everyone’s on the same page; we’re ready to make this happen together.”

Since April, people from all over Rhode Island have been showing their solidarity. When ordering at the Starbucks stores, they have been given different names to be written on their coffee cups, such as “Union Strong”, “Solidarity”, and “Union Yes”. They have also made sure to give cash tips, marking the bills with messages that echo the need for a union, with stickers stating “This Payment Made Possible By Union Wages.”

Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner was on hand to show his support for the unionization effort. State Senator Cynthia Mendes (Democrat, District 18, East Providence) was also in attendance.

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