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Starbucks responds to worker effort to unionize at Seattle Reserve Roastery

Employees at the Seattle roastery are now the second group of flagship store employees to file a petition to join Starbucks Workers United.

SEATTLE — Employees with the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle have joined the unionization effort that started in Buffalo, New York but has spread across the country.

On Monday, those who support the effort at the flagship store in the Capitol Hill neighborhood sent a letter to company President and CEO Kevin Johnson.

"United, we stand alongside our fellow partners who have been taking the same course of action," the letter reads. "Together, we seek to ensure that our store, amongst others, is truly considered to be a place of warmth and belonging."

The letter states the company has made efforts in "challenging the status quo and as a union we stand to do just that."

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"Our primary goals are to create an elevated work experience for everyone," the letter continues. "To make sure our partners are recognized, included, appreciated, supported, and delighted every day they walk into the space."

Employees at the Seattle roastery are now the second group of flagship store employees to file a petition to join Starbucks Workers United. Those at the roastery in New York City filed a petition last week.

A spokesperson from Starbucks sent the following statement regarding the unionization effort:

We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country. Starbucks success—past, present, and future—is built on how we partner together, always with Our Mission and Values at our core.  

Our belief is that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed. Rossann Williams, evp and president, North America, has also shared with our partners that we respect their right to organize and will bargain in good faith.  

She also noted in a letter sent to all partners in December that “the vote outcomes will not change our shared purpose or how we will show up for each other. … We will keep listening, we will keep connecting and we will keep being in service of one another because that’s what we’ve always done and what it means to be partner."

The move by employees at the roastery follows a larger effort in the greater Seattle area and across the nation to hold union elections. Employees at an Everett location began the process by filing a petition to unionize with the National Labor Relations Board earlier this month.

The first-ever Starbucks union was formed at a Buffalo, New York location in December of 2021.

Starbucks previously announced it would negotiate in good faith with workers who agreed to unionize. In a bargain letter sent to all U.S. partners, Executive Vice President Rossann Williams said that the company hasn’t wanted unionization, but respects the legal process and wants to work with those in Buffalo who voted in favor of union representation. 

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