Three Portland-Area Starbucks File Petition Monday to Unionize

If approved by the NLRB and a vote by workers, six Starbucks locations in Oregon could soon join the union.

Three Portland-area Starbucks coffee shops filed to unionize Monday morning with the National Labor Relations Board.

One is on Garden Home Road in Southwest Portland, and two are in Beaverton on Southwest Walker Road and Cedar Hills Boulevard.

Two locations in Eugene also announced their intent to unionize this morning. That brings Oregon Starbucks in the process of ratifying unionization to a total of six. The first Starbucks that filed a petition to unionize in Oregon, a location in Eugene, did so earlier this month.

More than 50 Starbucks across the country have now filed to unionize. The push began with a shop in Buffalo, N.Y., in December that first filed with the board. Today is that store’s first day of contract negotiations.

The union now awaits NLRB approval. If the board certifies the elections, ballots will be sent out to workers at the Oregon stores, likely over a month from now.

Quentin Kanta, a barista at one of the Beaverton stores and one of the organizers of Starbucks Workers United, the union representing workers, says several more locations across the state will announce plans to unionize in coming weeks.

“There is just a cascade of union support. Starbucks lasted for 50 years without a union threat, and now it’s happening all at once,” Kanta says. “Our regional manager and store manager were completely blindsided by it.”

Kanta says 19 out of about 27 workers at his store support forming a union.

The tipping point for some of his colleagues, he says, came during the winter storm earlier this month. The store manager told employees in a letter that inclement weather was no excuse for skipping work or arriving late.

“Everyone needs to have a plan A, a plan B and a plan C on how they are going to get to and from work safely on any day that we have snow and ice on the roads,” the manager wrote in the letter, which was shared with WW. “I want everyone to be safe...but remember, snow days are not sick days.”

Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.