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Starbucks baristas in Chicago file for union election, joining workers at 21 stores for campaign’s largest single-day filing

Workers at two Chicago-area Starbucks – the Madison & Wells and the 58th & Western locations – filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to unionize with Starbucks Workers United. They were joined by baristas announcing they too are seeking union elections today at 21 Starbucks stores in 14 states during a flurry of February Filings. It is the largest single-day of filing since the campaign began in 2021.

Workers from the 21 stores co-authored a letter to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan to announce their massive organizing push. 

“Across the country management is cutting hours, writing inconsistent and unreliable schedules, and placing more and more work on fewer and fewer partners,” the workers wrote. “We ‘partners’ demand a say. We are the face of Starbucks. As employees, we deserve the same respect and dignity as the CEO.” 

The Madison & Wells and the 58th & Western partners join the growing national movement of more than 9,500 union baristas at nearly 400 union stores, organizing to better their working conditions, including living wages, fair scheduling and policies that respond to discrimination and harassment on the job. The historic campaign, one of the most successful in decades, hinges on peer-to-peer organizing led by workers, for workers – and has won election after election in stores nationwide.

“I was motivated to work with my team to unionize by a belief that I and my coworkers – both in my store and at stores across the country – deserve a workplace where we are respected as people and our input as the partners on the floor day in and day out is valued. I believe that working collectively as a union is the best thing we can do to ensure that Starbucks hears what we have to say, and to make lasting change.” said Hawthorne Williams, they/them, a barista of 1 year and organizer at the Madison & Wells location.

​​”When I joined the company I was enticed by the thought of working with partners as we opened a new store on 58th Western. Being in the store now I know sometimes it’s hard for the partners to try and share some joy unfortunately. I’m big on partner morale. The morale in the store has plummeted to a point where partners fear for their job everyday,” added Lee Yancy, he/him, a shift supervisor of 1 year at the 58th & Western location. The partners and I know that Starbucks is pushing a bottom line and that stretches partners thin. At Starbucks I think we need a union because the partners need to be protected. I think a union will be the ultimate solution given it gives the partners the assisted voice necessary to make them heard by the company.”

Workers from the following Starbucks stores filed for union elections today:

Rodney Parham, Little Rock, AR

Highway 4 and Hillcrest, Antioch, CA

San Pedro Square, San Jose, CA

Seal Beach & St. Cloud, Seal Beach, CA

Jewell and Wadsworth, Lakewood, CO

17th and Hover, Longmont, CO

Madison & Wells, Chicago, IL

58th & Western, Chicago, IL

I-10 & HWY 108, Sulfur, LA

Washington and Demers, Grand Forks, ND

Garden City, Long Island, NY

Old Westbury, Long Island, NY

4th Ave & 11th St, Park Slope, NY

McCarran & Lakeside, Reno, NV

Grove City, Columbus, OH

Loop 288 & I-35, Denton, TX

Kimball Junction, Kimball Junction, UT

I-81 & Roanoke St, Christiansburg, VA

164th & Bothell Hwy, Mill Creek, WA

Rimrock & Beltline, Madison, WI

Monona & Broadway, Monona, WI

The mass filing was part of ongoing grassroots efforts by Starbucks workers who are organizing and taking direct action, demanding Starbucks end its illegal union-busting campaign and bargain a contract in good faith. In more than fifty separate decisions, federal administrative law judges have found that Starbucks has committed more than 400 violations of federal labor law, including dozens of unlawful firings, refusal to bargain, and denying benefits and wage increases to union members that are offered at non-union stores. 

Since December 2021, nearly 400 Starbucks stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia have successfully unionized — more than any other company in the 21st Century, as Starbucks Workers United has taken the industry and world by storm. 

Partners with Starbucks Workers United are organizing to build a better Starbucks across America, and is affiliated with Workers United. To learn more, visit

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