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Local News

Starbucks workers union drive makes it to Reno

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Michael Lyle, Nevada Current
February 21, 2024

For the first time in Reno, workers at a Starbucks filed a petition this week with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to unionize, joining four other Southern Nevada locations that have sought to unionize in recent years.

The Reno store, located on McCarran Boulevard and Lakeside Drive, was one of 21 stores across the county that announced efforts to unionize on Tuesday. 

Starbucks Workers United, the national organization that has helped coordinate Starbucks union drives across the country, said it is the largest number of stores to file in a single day.

Fenrir Larsen, an organizer at the Reno Starbucks who has worked as a shift supervisor for eight years, said the location wants “to be a part of changes moving forward together as a team.”

“We’ve had a hard time being noticed as individuals but with collective bargaining we get to have a seat at the table and be heard by management,” Larsen said in a statement.

Four stores in Southern Nevada have previously voted to unionize since December 2022.   

Companies across the country including Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Amazon have attempted to unionize in recent years in an effort to secure stronger worker protections. 

Starbucks Workers United has sought to reign in unpredictable schedules, secure low wages as well as pushback against unfair discipline policies and racism and sexual harassment. 

The group is proposing a base wage of $20 an hour with a 5% cost of living adjustment and requiring full-time status for those working an average of 32 hours per week along with benefits for those working less than 20 hours per week. 

Workers in roughly 400 stores representing more than 9,500 baristas have voted to unionize since 2021. However, no store has successfully negotiated or signed a contract so far. 

In a letter to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan on Tuesday, workers from those 21 stores reiterated that they deserved “fair pay, clerk communication with all partners, a say in the decisions that affect our day to day, better power balance, and manageable expectations.”

“Across the country management is cutting hours, writing inconsistent and unreliable schedules, and placing more and more work on fewer and fewer partners,” the workers wrote. “We ‘partners’ demand a say. We are the face of Starbucks. As employees, we deserve the same respect and dignity as the CEO.” 

In a statement,  Andrew Trull, a spokesman with Starbucks, said the company has increased total hourly compensation at U.S. stores by 50% since 2020 and that the company has worked to address unpredictable hours.

“While we believe our direct relationship as partners is core to our culture and our continued improvements to the partner experience, we respect the rights of partners to organize and reaffirm our aim to negotiate first contracts for represented stores this year,” he wrote.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: info@nevadacurrent.com. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.