Workers at this Starbucks in Garden City and a second...

Workers at this Starbucks in Garden City and a second store in Old Westbury filed to pursue union representation.  Credit: Howard Schnapp

Employees at two Long Island Starbucks locations filed petitions seeking union recognition along with workers at nearly 20 other stores nationwide.

Baristas at Starbucks locations in Garden City and Old Westbury submitted signed union cards to the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday morning. Local employees of the Seattle-based coffee giant joined workers in 14 states in the coordinated push for unionization.

The Long Island workers are seeking to be recognized as part of Workers United New York New Jersey Regional Board, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

Workers at the 21 stores nationwide that petitioned the NLRB co-authored a letter to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan outlining their grievances.

“Across the country management is cutting hours, writing inconsistent and unreliable schedules, and placing more and more work on fewer and fewer partners,” read the letter. “Starbucks’ profit driven behavior makes doing our jobs impossible. We cannot keep up with constant promotions, dilapidated equipment, and unclean stores.”

At least 391 of Starbucks’ 9,000 corporate-owned stores in 43 states have voted to unionize since late 2021, according to More Perfect Union, a labor organizing non-profit.

The coffee chain has not finalized a contract with any of the unionized shops, but said in a statement that it aims to negotiate contracts this year. 

"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," Starbucks spokesman Andrew Trull said in a statement.

Elmont resident Leeana Lee, 24, a barista at the Garden City location, said staffing issues have become a major issue at her store, located at 184 7th St.

“I’ve had a lot of jobs, but there’s something about the way Starbucks is operating at this current moment where it pushed me over the edge,” said Lee, who started working at the location in September.

“I haven’t faced this bad of staffing since I was an urgent care receptionist at the height of COVID,” Lee said.

Trull said the company was working to improve scheduling and staffing issues. 

"We’ve continued to work to build weekly schedules that reflect our partners’ preferred hours and support expected customer demand,” Trull said in the statement. 

“Starbucks has invested more than 20% of the company’s 2023 profits back into our partners and stores through wages, training and equipment,” Trull said. He said hourly compensation for U.S. partners has increased by nearly 50% since fiscal 2020.

On Long Island, workers at locations in Farmingville, Westbury, Lynbrook, Massapequa and Wantagh have voted to unionize over the last two years. Workers in Great Neck narrowly voted against the union, a result Workers United has contested with the NLRB. The union said it has filed 17 unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks since local workers began petitioning for union representation in 2022.

CORRECTION: The name of Starbucks spokesman Andrew Trull was misspelled in a previous version of this story.

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