Workers unionize at flagship Seattle Starbucks roastery

Posted at 6:04 PM, Apr 21, 2022

Starbucks workers at the coffee giant's flagship roastery in Seattle have voted to form a union, the chain's latest location to form a collective bargaining unit.

The Seattle store voted Thursday 38-27 to unionize. Workers United said 26 Starbucks locations have unionized nationwide. The Starbucks Reserve and Roastery in the Capitol Hill neighborhood is the business's second to unionize in its hometown of Seattle. Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges says in a statement the company will respect the process and bargain in good faith.

Longtime Starbucks leader Howard Schultz returned to the company as interim CEO in early April. Among his first actions was suspending Starbucks' $20 million share buyback program to invest more profits in employees and stores. Starbucks shares fell 4% on the news. The pivot in strategy comes just three weeks after Starbucks announced that Schultz would be taking over the company’s top role until it finds a permanent CEO. Schultz could be feeling some heat from a growing unionization effort.

Six of the company's 9,000 U.S. stores had unionized at that time, and at least 170 more have filed to hold union elections.