Evanston Starbucks workers back union drive

Workers at a Starbucks at 519 Main St. filed a petition Sunday with the National Labor Relations Board asking for a union certification election.

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A “Starbucks Workers United” shirt.

AP Photos file

Baristas at a Starbucks in Evanston have joined a unionizing campaign, hoping to become the first Starbucks in the city to unionize.

Workers at a Starbucks at 519 Main St. filed a petition Sunday with the National Labor Relations Board asking for a union certification election.

Employees at the store petitioned to affiliate with Workers United, which is allied with the Service Employees International Union.

Though the union said an “overwhelming majority” of store employees signed union cards, no date has been set for a vote.

Workers cited severe understaffing as an issue, which has led to overworked employees, causing some to miss out on legally-mandated breaks.

Starbucks did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Workers United has been behind a national campaign to organize unions at Starbucks, which has about 9,000 stores in the United States.

Baristas have unionized at 248 Starbucks stores across the U.S. as of October. In the Chicago area, seven Starbucks have voted for the union and three rejected it.

In October, Starbucks closed a location in Edgewater, one of the chain’s first stores in Chicago to unionize.

In several cases, Starbucks has requested that union elections occur not store by store, but within all stores in a corporate district, including places where employees voiced no interest in unionizing. The NLRB has rejected that request.

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