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The Indiana Daily Student

business & economy bloomington

Bloomington Eastside Starbucks employees unionize with Starbucks Workers United

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Workers at the Bloomington Eastside Starbucks, located at Third Street and 46 Bypass, have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to unionize with Starbucks Workers United, a collective of more than 315 U.S. Starbucks Partners across the country. Workers sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan announcing their unionization Monday.

According to a Starbucks Workers United press release, employees of the Eastside Starbucks location are asking for better working conditions, more consistent scheduling and fair wages within their store. In their letter to Narasimhan, employees allege the Starbucks corporation has cut hours across the staff — leading to understaffing in the store — and has imposed “impossible expectations” for employees to fulfill more orders while keeping drive-through times down.

[Related: IU graduate workers facing fewer doctoral student admissions in the future, petition for raise]

“We’re working three different positions at once while worrying if we have enough hours to keep our benefits, or even pay rent,” Eastside Starbucks employee Stefanie Sharp said in the press release. “We’ve been stretched to our absolute limit and we’ve decided to stand up together and fight for unionization.”

Eastside Starbucks employees also stated in their letter, which was signed by 13 employees, that the store’s Pride flag was taken down.  

“By conceding to those who threaten homophobic and transphobic violence, you are inviting those people not only into our store, but society at large, and putting our majority-LGBT workforce in even more danger, while simultaneously profiting off of those same overworked LGBT workers that are perpetually dancing on the knife’s edge of poverty,” the letter said.

[Related: Federal judge blocks Indiana law banning gender-affirming care for minors]

According to the letter, employees are asking for the recognition of their union as the collective bargaining agent for all permanent hourly full-time and part-time employees in the store – excluding store managers, assistant store managers and supervisors. 

The Eastside Starbucks location is the third Indiana store to unionize. According to the press release, employees at the LaPorte and Silhavy stores in Valparaiso, Indiana unionized in February. Employees at a Starbucks location in Clarksville, Indiana were the first to unionize in the state in June 2022.

Editor's Note: This story will be updated

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that the Bloomington Eastside Starbucks location is the third location to unionize in Indiana.

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