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Santa Fe Starbucks workers file petition for unionization

Employees at a Santa Fe Starbucks filed a petition on Monday to unionize in hopes of bringing about change, saying poor management had hurt their store.

The effort to organize the store at 780 St. Michael’s Drive in Santa Fe comes a month after workers at a Starbucks on Rio Grande and Interstate 40 in Albuquerque filed their petition — the first in the state to do it – citing staffing issues and burnout.

Evelyn Zepeda of the Western United States Regional Joint Workers Council confirmed to the Journal that the organization helped employees at the Santa Fe store file their petition with the National Labor Relations Board.

The attorney representing Starbucks’ employee organizing efforts in the state, Robert S. Giolito, said the supporting documents were filed Monday evening.

However, the NLRB filing did not show Santa Fe Starbucks’ petition to unionize as of Tuesday. A Starbucks Workers United representative overseeing organizing efforts in New Mexico was not immediately available for comment.

In a letter sent to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Monday, employees of the Santa Fe cafe – including Marina Bond, Shawn Harper-Ray, Tamara Lopez, Vanessa Lopez, Michael McEwan, Mia Negrete, Emma Pearson and others who have refused to list their names – said the location had had issues with customer service in part due to poor management support.

“In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, we have been asked to choose between our health and our paycheck,” the letter read. “We were each asked to take on the workload of two or more people on back-to-back shifts. While we’re not ungrateful for the perks offered by Starbucks, we believe the company as a whole can do better.

Those sentiments were echoed by other employees at Starbucks sites across the country, including workers at the Albuquerque site who filed their petition on July 11.

Hundreds of Starbucks locations have unionized in recent months and many more are currently in the works, according to Starbucks Workers United.

Store workers typically vote on whether to unionize a few months after the petition is filed. And unionization happens if at least 70% of store employees vote yes.

Starbucks, which has thousands of locations across the country, has long opposed unionization of individual stores, including with the first store to do so in Buffalo, New York.

The company on Monday asked the NLRB to suspend all mail-in ballots for union elections at its U.S. stores, arguing that a board employee at a St. Louis office had miscoordinated with a labor organizer while overseeing an election at a Kansas location.