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Colorado Springs Starbucks workers want a 'seat at the table'

Joe Tally-Foos
Posted at 1:51 PM, Mar 15, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — A nationwide drive to unionize Starbucks stores arrives in Colorado Springs.

Workers at the Brookside and Nevada and the Academy and Flintridge stores filed with the National Labor Relations Board Monday to begin the union process.

In a press release, workers said that both stores have "support of more than 70% of staff to pursue unionizing."

A worker at the Brookside and Nevada location, Joe Tally-Foos, said they hope the union drive will get them "a seat at the table," as they are "the faces of the company."

Tally-Foos said a number of factors spurred the union drive. He pointed out that the Starbucks "CEO gets $14 million dollars, and they get cut hours," even as the coffee giant posted record revenues in 2021.

Tally-Foos has a "particularly extreme" case of cut hours. He says his hours went from 30 hours, to 20, and then to 4, and while most of his coworkers are over 10 hours, this is their main job.

He also says that while Starbucks "claims to be a company of partners," the workers "aren't listened to."

A spokesperson for Starbucks disputed this claim, saying the company has "always given workers a voice through initiatives like in-person listening sessions, live video sessions, and an e-mail and phone number that workers can use to contact leadership if they have issues."

The spokesperson did say that the company respects their partners' rights to unionize, and they will "100% follow the NLRB process." She said the company believes that they view the company and its workers are "better together as partners" without a union.

The company also created a website in response to the union drives at its stores, where the company says they "do not believe unions are necessary at Starbucks because we know the real issues are solved through our direct partnership with one another."

Tally-Foos, however, said that "Starbucks hasn't listened to us."

The union the employees are working with is the Starbucks Partners United Union, an affiliate of Workers United. Bradley Kurtz, a barista at the Academy and Flintridge location, said in a press release that joining the union will "increase communication and representation between local employees... and Starbucks corporate," and "create a consistent pay structure, increased pay for tenured staff, increased tipping ability, and increased labor for partners."

Esau Chavez, the Media Relations Coordinator for Workers United, said the union is "excited to be working with these workers," in a "worker-led movement" to unionize these stores.
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