The Potluck

Starbucks workers vote to unionize Edina store, 5th in Minnesota

By: - August 18, 2022 3:52 pm

Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

Starbucks workers at an Edina store voted 9-0 to unionize, becoming the fifth store in Minnesota to do so.

The election at the Edina store — at 5122 Edina Industrial Blvd. — is the latest success in a wave of unionization drives across the country, with workers at more than 220 Starbucks stores voting to unionize.

Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, has won five of the seven union elections in Minnesota and is challenging the two it lost, alleging unfair labor practices. Two more stores — in Roseville and Rochester — are awaiting elections overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.

The union has succeeded in winning the vast majority of elections despite Starbucks waging an aggressive campaign against unionization efforts and racking up more than 200 complaints for unfair labor practices.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the coffee chain to reinstate seven workers who were fired in Memphis, Tenn., after speaking to a local TV station about their unionizing effort.

Starbucks, which operates roughly 9,000 stores nationwide, has said the firings were not union related. The judge ruled otherwise, saying there was reasonable cause to believe the firings were anti-union and clearly had a chilling effect on the campaign.

While Workers United has been successful in winning elections — just 47 stores have voted against unionizing — it has struggled to negotiate labor contracts and says Starbucks has refused to bargain in good faith. No store in the country has yet ratified a labor contract since the first store in Buffalo, N.Y., unionized in December.

Last month, workers shut down a south Minneapolis store for two days by going on strike, saying management hasn’t provided them with information necessary to begin negotiations. They also say managers changed the store’s hours without consulting the union.

Unionized Starbucks stores in Minnesota:

  • 300 Snelling Ave., St. Paul
  • 4712 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis
  • 3704 Silver Lake Road, Minneapolis
  • Mall of America, first floor, Bloomington
  • 5122 Edina Industrial Blvd., Edina

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.