Workers at Starbucks on Middle Street in Portland announce intent to unionize

·2 min read

Aug. 17—Workers at the Starbucks on Middle Street in Portland have announced their intention to form a union, hoping to become the second Starbucks in Maine to do so.

Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee on Tuesday posted a statement of the workers' intentions on Twitter, News Center Maine reported. Starbucks is located at 176 Middle St. Their notification was addressed to Starbucks President and CEO Howard Schultz.

"We are organizing a union because we want our voices to be heard in the company on equal footing," the letter to Schultz states. "We believe our voices must be heard as the changes within the company affects us and our workplace. Establishing a union within the workplace means having democracy at work.

"The best ways to improve the lives of your workers is to respect their right to defend and fight for their beliefs without fear of retaliation or consequences. We ask that the cups be filled equally 50-50, a happy medium, or even just a few more drops back into our cups."

If the effort is successful, the Portland store would become the second Starbucks in Maine to form a union. Starbucks in Biddeford voted 9-3 last month to form a union.

In Biddeford, organizing committee members said they were motivated to unionize after seeing co-workers leave because of issues including inconsistencies in scheduling and low pay.

"I wanted to give them a reason to stay. That's my ultimate goal: to better everyone's lives," Ash Macomber, who led the push to organize, told the Press Herald after notifying the company of their intentions.

The Biddeford workers joined a push by Starbucks workers across the country to organize and advocate for fair wages and better working conditions.

Starting with successful union votes in December at two Starbucks stores in Buffalo, New York, workers have filed for union elections at more than 260 of the company's 9,000 U.S. stores. The union has prevailed with the backing of more than half the workers at the majority of stores that have voted.