Employees at the Lake Lansing Road Starbucks in Lansing Township want to unionize

Starbucks on Lake Lansing Road in Lansing Township
Posted at 10:26 PM, Feb 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-05 22:26:09-05

LANSING, Mich. — Employees at the Starbucks on Lake Lansing Road in Lansing Township along with employees at three Starbucks stores in Ann Arbor are demanding union recognition from Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.

In a letter to Johnson, 32 Lansing employees wrote, "Everyday we put ourselves at risk to make larger profits for a company unwilling to legitimize our concerns. As partners, we deserve a seat at the table to ensure Starbucks meets and exceeds our needs."

Starbucks barista Cassidy Thurmond, 24, said it's "mainly just wanting to ensure that we have a say in the things that happen" at their store.

"All of the decisions are essentially made at the district level and not at each store's individual level and if you're not working there, behind the counter, on the floor, there's a lot of things you miss," Thurmond said. "Different stores have different needs."

Starbucks barista Grace Norris, 21, said the reason they want to unionize is because they love their co-workers.

"Starbucks likes to say that we have this working relationship, and we really don't because there's nothing that holds them to any promises that they make to us," Norris said.

Thurmond said another big concern is not having enough coverage at the store throughout the day, "which puts a lot of stress on the employees."

"Hopefully Starbucks voluntarily recognizes us as a union but, if not, this movement didn't start with us and I don't think it's going to end with us either," Thurmond said. "It's a lot bigger than just Lake Lansing."

Starbucks employees across the nation are working to unionize.

The Lake Lansing Road employees join other baristas in Michigan from Grand Blanc, Clinton Township and other Ann Arbor locations, who announced their intention to unionize Jan. 28.

"There will inevitably be a hearing to decide whether or not we will be able to unionize," Thurmond said. "Because we filed so close to the other stores in Michigan, Workers United let us know that we will most likely all be grouped into that same court hearing."

Starbucks wrote in a statement, "We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country. Our position hasn't changed: Starbucks success—past, present, and future—is built on how we partner together, always with our mission and values at our core."

Johnson has until Monday at 3 p.m. to voluntarily recognize the union. If he doesn't, a hearing will be scheduled.

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