Two more Starbucks in Alberta vote to unionize, both in Sherwood Park

More Starbucks workers in Alberta voted to unionize, this time at two locations in Sherwood Park outside Edmonton.

In a vote held Thursday, a majority of employees at the Starbucks in Beaverbrook Plaza on Baseline Road supported joining the United Steelworkers, the union said in a press release Friday.

The 41 workers will become members of Steelworkers Local 1-207, which covers a variety of industries across the province.

« We’re really looking forward to joining USW and sort of creating a partnership with them so that we can create better working conditions and better salaries for our partners, » Sara Doran, a barista, said in an interview. Friday.

Workers at a second Sherwood Park Starbucks, on Sherwood Drive, voted on Friday to join the USW.

Last month, workers at a Calgary Starbucks voted to unionize following a rejection earlier this year at another location in town.

In the United States, Starbucks is facing a wave of labor campaigns.

An online tracker and map based on U.S. National Labor Relations Board figures show about 300 Starbucks locations have applied to unionize since December.

« It’s a really, really exciting time, » Doran said. « And the fact that it’s with Starbucks, that’s pretty big. »

« Massive Wave »

Pablo Guerra, the Steelworkers’ main organizer in Western Canada, said employees at Sherwood Park contacted the union following the vote in Calgary. He sees it as part of a larger labor movement spurred by the pandemic.

« It’s a movement created by young workers in Canada, especially in Alberta, » Guerra said. « The younger generations, they look to the union for protection. »

Final unions must be certified by the Alberta Labor Relations Board. Collective bargaining towards a first contract would follow.

Workers at five Starbucks stores in Lethbridge are also trying to unionize. A USW spokesperson said the sites voted together as a group, but an objection was filed with the relations board, with a hearing scheduled for September. The ballot remains sealed in the meantime.

The USW already represents four Starbucks locations in British Columbia.

« You’re going to see a massive wave of Starbucks signings in both provinces, » Guerra said.

He said employees at two locations in Edmonton are also unionizing.

In Alberta, before a union can hold a certification vote, it must apply to the Labor Relations Board with proof that at least 40% of the employees at the workplace support the union.

A Starbucks spokesperson said the company respects its employees’ right to organize.

« From the beginning, we have been clear in our belief that we are better off together as partners, without union between us at Starbucks, and that belief has not changed, » the statement said.


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