JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Workers at a Starbucks in Jackson County say they plan to file for a union election, according to a letter sent to the coffee company’s corporate office.
The letter, signed by several employees as the Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee, states the workers were inspired by fellow Starbucks employees in Birmingham who voted to unionize last month. That store voted 27-1 to unionize, according to AL.com.
The Starbucks store, known as Store 66812, is located at 23029 John T. Reid Parkway in Scottsboro.
“Our Partners at Store 66182 deserve to be set up for success by Starbucks,” the letter read. “We deserve the hours we have worked so hard to fight for, we deserve a full staff, and we deserve management that hear our cries.”
“Before we can improve our communities one coffee at a time, we need a healthy foundation to work from,” the letter continued. “Our store manager has failed us, our district manager has failed us, and Starbucks has failed us.”
The letter stated the best way to challenge the status quo is by “forming a union to grow our company and each other.”
To read the full letter from the Scottsboro Starbucks location, click here.
News 19 reached out to the employees who wrote the letter. They were happy to go on camera and share their story.
Siera Moore transferred from another Starbucks location to the Scottsboro location right when it opened in 2021. She said she loves interacting with members of the community while she works.
Moore even said she’s made new friends through her work. However, she said she’s noticed the number of hours she’s being scheduled decline as the store has been open.
“I was working about 38 hours a week, and I’ve gone down to about 27, so a huge pay cut” she said. “We’re just pushing to get the hours back.”
Moore said the group isn’t pushing for a union because they want to raise wages, but because they want to ensure they are getting enough hours to make ends meet.
She said, “to the people that are going to say like we’re just baristas, like we’re hourly workers, we don’t deserve more than what we’re getting now, please think about the fact that some of us have kids, and we have school to go to, and we need this job to be able to provide for ourselves.”
Garrett Ellison is another employee who signed the letter sent to Howard Schultz. Ellison said the lack of hours is inhibiting some of the employee’s to earn benefits.
“People [are] not getting enough hours to get the benefits that Starbucks promises” Ellison said. “So we definitely want to fight for that, as well as support from Starbucks.”
Ellison continued, “They [Starbucks] say the word partner, and we really just want to emphasize that they mean partner through and through.”
Both Ellison and Moore spoke on how it can be scary to be the ones to spark the change.
“We need to be the voice for each other and stand up for what we need” Moore said. “Saying union is a scary word, but it’s not something to be scared of. We just want to be able to provide for ourselves.”
“It will seem scary but in the long run I think it’s going to be good for us” Ellison said. “I know a bunch of people from other stores have experienced situations with Starbucks Corporation, and I feel like if you feel its wrong and your voice hasn’t been heard, I feel like this is a good way to get your voice out there.”
News 19 reached out to Starbucks for a statement on the potential for a union election:
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.
We’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed.
As Howard recently shared in a letter to partners, “We will become the best version of Starbucks by co-creating our future directly as partners. And we will strengthen the Starbucks community by upholding each other’s dreams; upholding the standards and rituals of the company; celebrating partner individuality and voice; and upholding behaviors of mutual respect and dignity.A spokesperson for Starbucks
If the workers at Store 66182 vote to organize, they will be the second Starbucks location in Alabama to do so. The first was the aforementioned Birmingham location, whose vote was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.
Ellison and Moore tell News 19 that the Scottsboro location has also been in contact with the National Labor Relations Board. They tell us they expect to vote on whether or not to unionize, in the coming weeks.
Learn more about efforts to organize at Starbucks locations nationwide by visiting sbworkersunited.org.