Starbucks barista Olivia Donnelly. Workers at the Port Jefferson shop voted...

Starbucks barista Olivia Donnelly. Workers at the Port Jefferson shop voted in favor of unionizing. Credit: Gregory A. Shemitz

Starbucks workers in Port Jefferson voted in favor of unionizing Wednesday night, joining over 400 store locations in a nationwide organizing effort.

Workers at the store — partners in Starbucks parlance — voted 10-1 in favor of joining Workers United New York New Jersey Regional Board, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The Port Jefferson shop, at 201 Main St., is the eighth Long Island location to unionize since 2022.

To date, employees at stores in Farmingville, Westbury, Lynbrook, Massapequa, Wantagh, Old Westbury and Garden City have unionized. 

Workers at a Great Neck store narrowly voted against the union — 6-5 — in May 2022. Workers United has challenged the results with the NLRB, alleging that management engaged in unfair labor practices at that store.

“I believe it will give us the resources that we so desperately need,” said Ryan Grabowski, 27, a Middle Island resident who’s worked at the Port Jefferson shop for the past year and a half.

“I certainly hope that it will encourage other stores around us to take note that people are very, very in favor of what Starbucks Workers United is pushing for,” Grabowski said.

News of the union vote comes a week after Long Island Jobs With Justice — the local arm of a national pro-labor organization — released a report outlining specific complaints from unionized Starbucks workers over workplace conditions.

Among the report’s findings were a need for more consistent staffing and scheduling for employees, better training for both rank-and-file workers as well as managers, and assurances that managers are held accountable for inappropriate behavior and interactions with employees on the job.

“At Starbucks we believe that our direct relationship as partners is core to the experiences we create in our stores, and we respect our partners' rights to have a choice on the topic of unions,” Starbucks spokesperson Jay Go Guasch said in a statement regarding the Port Jefferson vote.

“We are committed to delivering on our promise to offer a bridge to a better future to all Starbucks partners,” Guasch added.

Olivia Donnelly, 20, of Setauket, a barista and organizer at the Port Jefferson location for nearly two years, said reliable scheduling and having enough staff on the floor for busy times of the day have remained a major issue for workers.

“My biggest concern is just making sure that our store is safe and that we have the proper staff and we’re able to keep everything clean and healthy for ourselves and customers,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly said she was confident in the union’s chances going into the Wednesday night election.

“Right now, we’re just kind of soaking in this victory because it’s been in the making for so long,” said Donnelly.

Over 10,000 employees across more than 435 of Starbucks’ 9,000 corporate-owned locations have voted to unionize since the union push kicked off in late 2021, according to Workers United. The cascade of union votes began after two Buffalo locations became the first in the nation to file for a union election.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

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