Leeana Lee, a Starbucks worker at the Garden City store,...

Leeana Lee, a Starbucks worker at the Garden City store, supported unionization. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Starbucks workers at store locations in Old Westbury and Garden City voted to join a union Wednesday evening, officially joining a national movement of unionized baristas at the coffee giant.

Workers at the Old Westbury location, located at 379 Glen Cove Rd., voted 6 to 5 in favor of unionizing, while workers in Garden City voted 7 to 3 in favor, according to union officials. 

Wednesday’s elections come after employees at the two cafe locations submitted signed union cards with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to hold a union election late last month.

The NLRB requires that workers seeking an election must submit union cards or a petition signed by at least 30% of the workers eligible to vote in a union election.

The local workers are now members of Workers United New York New Jersey Regional Board, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

Leeana Lee, 24, an Elmont resident and Starbucks worker in Garden City said winning Wednesday's election is an important step in ensuring workers rights to speak out in the workplace. 

“Winning the union vote at Starbucks represents a pivotal moment in championing workers’ rights and ensuring fair treatment within the company,” Lee said in a statement. “It signifies a positive shift towards creating a more inclusive and empowered workforce where we actually have a voice.”

“Ultimately, this victory gives me hope that it can go back to being somewhere I enjoy working at again,” she said.

Lee said among the biggest issues she and her co-workers face has been low staffing levels and high turnover creating larger workloads for fewer employees.

Seattle-based Starbucks has acknowledged staffing issues at some of its stores and said it will be remedying the issue. Additionally, the company said last month that it would begin negotiating first contracts with unionized stores this year.

“We believe that our direct relationship as partners is core to the culture and experiences we create in our stores, and we respect our partners' rights to freely associate and bargain collectively,” Starbucks spokesperson Rachel Wall said in a statement.

The company also said that the Old Westbury Starbucks is currently closed for planned renovations and should be open again in mid-April.

At least 400 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 nonprofit. They include workers  at locations in Farmingville, Westbury, Lynbrook, Massapequa, and Wantagh.

The coffee chain has not finalized a contract with any of the unionized shops but said in a statement last month it plans to negotiate first contracts with stores this year.

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