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EL Starbucks joins Flint, Grand Rapids stores in bid to unionize

EL Starbucks.jpg
Kevin Lavery
The employees of this Starbucks near the Michigan State University campus say their corporate office is establishing policies without providing sufficient resources to fulfill them.

A Starbucks coffee shop near the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing is taking steps towards unionization.

The Starbucks at 1141 East Grand River Avenue employs about 30 workers.

On Monday, the store filed with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election.

A shift supervisor who asked not to be identified says Starbucks’ corporate office is establishing policies his store can’t realistically accomplish with the resources it has.

He says his staff initially felt apprehensive about attempting to unionize, but now believes it’s the right decision for the store.

Labor organizer Matthew Kain is with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

He says the East Lansing team has submitted union cards to the National Labor Relations Board.

“They have to wait for the NLRB board hearing to determine when they will get the date for their election,” said Kain. “They just wait for that election day to come up, and then they all vote yes and get the union representation.”

Two stores in Flint and Grand Rapids also filed Monday for union elections.

The Service Employees International Union says, in total, 11 Starbucks locations in Michigan are seeking representation.

Updated: March 7, 2022 at 9:30 PM EST
Update 9:30 p.m. 3/7/2022

This story has been edited at an interviewee's request to withhold their name to avoid potential workplace retaliation.
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