A Starbucks employee wears a Workers United pin.

A Starbucks employee wears a Workers United pin. Credit: Morgan Campbell

Workers at a Wantagh Starbucks have joined a growing, national union movement, becoming the fifth location of the coffee chain on Long Island to seek union recognition.

Employees at the store, at 1143 Wantagh Ave., submitted signed union cards to the National Labor Relations Board Monday morning, seeking to hold a union vote next month. The  workers are seeking to join the Workers United New York New Jersey Regional Board, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

“Anything that we have brought up to management…the store has just flat out ignored,”/ said Jake MacAvoy, 27, a shift supervisor and organizer behind the campaign.

A Starbucks spokeswoman said employees don't need a union to be heard.

“We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country," the spokeswoman's statement said Monday. "From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed."

"We respect our partner’s right to organize and are committed to following the NLRB process," the spokeswoman said. 

MacAvoy, of Massapequa, has been working at the Wantagh store since late 2018, and said over the last two years, working conditions have gotten worse.

Earlier in the pandemic, MacAvoy said management pressured workers to come in who had documented contact with COVID-positive individuals. Additionally, hours were dramatically cut for many workers at the store following last year's Christmas holiday season, he said.

In April, he and other co-workers — called partners in Starbucks parlance — began organizing with Workers United.

“We’re not doing this because we don’t like Starbucks or we don’t like working at Starbucks,” MacAvoy said. “We just want them to treat us like the partners they always say that we are.”

Two Long Island Starbucks locations, in Westbury and Massapequa, have voted to unionize since May, the Westbury store's pro-union vote coming in a 23-0 landslide. 

Workers at a Great Neck store voted 6-5 against the union, a result that Workers United has challenged with the NLRB, alleging that management engaged in unfair labor practices.

 Another union vote is under way via mail-in ballot at a Farmingville location; that election concludes July 8.

In addition to the Wantagh workers' entry into the national union push, Workers United said a Staten Island store on Monday became the first location in that borough to file with the NLRB, and that baristas at a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Starbucks Reserve location voted to unionize 10-0 last week, becoming the second location in the borough to do so.

The labor push across the country came after two Buffalo locations successfully voted to unionize last fall. A third store upstate voted against unionizing.

To date, more than 300 store locations nationwide have made their intent to unionize public, with approximately 170 having voted for the union.

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