Clay, NY – Workers at a Starbucks in Clay voted to unionize on Friday, becoming the first stores from the coffee shop chain in the Syracuse area to do so.
Workers at the Route 31 store voted 10-8 to join Workers United Upstate New York, a subsidiary of Service Employees International Union, union organizer Jaz Brisack said. About 20 non-executive employees of the store were eligible to vote.
“We won, we won!” barista Brian Carey sang outside the store after voting ended Friday night.
Carey, 21, of Oswego, said he has worked at the store for the past two and a half years and initiated the union organizing effort in December. He said he and other workers were unhappy with the way they were being treated by new managers at the company’s shop.
Carey said he worked 30 to 35 hours a week until the fall, when new managers reduced him to 15 hours a week. When he complained about the lack of hours, a manager suggested he “go and get another job,” Carey said.
Rather than apply for a job, Carey asked Workers United for help in petitioning the National Labor Relations Board for a vote on union representation.
“I didn’t want any other job,” he said. “I like the work. I know a lot about coffee.”
Makaela Maciariello, who has been a barista at the store for two years, said her hours have been cut from 25 to 16-20 a week despite staff shortages at the store.
“They didn’t give us a reason,” she said.
Maciariello said managers pressured workers to vote against joining a union, held one-to-one meetings with employees and warned them that the company could cut their wages and benefits if they unionized.
Three Starbucks reps declined to comment as they locked up the store and left Friday night.
More than 7,000 workers at more than 280 Starbucks nationwide have voted to join a union since 2021, but workers at the clay store are the first in the Syracuse area to successfully join a union.
In July, employees at a Starbucks in the Armory Square neighborhood of Syracuse petitioned for a unionization vote, but the petition was later scrapped and Starbucks closed the store in October.
Brisack said she believes more Starbucks workers in the area would vote to unionize “after people see it’s possible.”
Rick Moriarty covers business news and consumer issues. Do you have a tip, comment or idea for a story? Contact him anytime: email | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148