Southmoreland Starbucks becomes fourth metro store to unionize

starbucks unionization employees

Local Starbucks employees fight for unionization. // Illustration by Miroslav Pavlovic

Employees at the Southmoreland Starbucks at 41st and Main announced their intention to unionize this morning, joining a movement that includes three other metro Starbucks and more than 100 other stores across the country.

In a letter addressed to interim CEO Howard Schultz, employees of the Southmoreland location cited “wages and schedule cuts that leave partners below the poverty line” among their reasons for unionizing. Nineteen employees signed the letter.

“In our store we are often understaffed seemingly purposefully and yet still are expected to meet unrealistic goals for productivity,” says Dahlia ‘Wren’ Denton, a barista at the store. She also says the company promised a wage hike earlier in the year that was delayed for unspecified reasons.

The Southmoreland store is the fourth area Starbucks to organize with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The three other metro stores that have filed for union elections are at 302 Nichols Road on the Plaza, 39th St in Independence, and 75th St and I-35 in Overland Park.

On Saturday, employees at the Overland Park Starbucks also engaged in a one-day unfair labor practices strike, alleging retaliation from district manager Sara Jenkins.

Labor organizing efforts within the corporate coffee shop chain seem unlikely to stall any time soon. New Starbucks locations are announcing their intent to unionize almost daily, buoyed by a rise in worker power in the hospitality industry we covered in this month’s issue of The Pitch.

“We have been understaffed, under-supported, and overworked through the pandemic,” Denton says.“I think baristas nationwide have finally had enough.” 

Categories: Politics