Gilbert Starbucks Becomes 7th Store in Arizona to Unionize 

WASHINGTON - MARCH 29: Starbucks workers union advocates wears union shirts at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on No Company is Above the Law: The Need to End Illegal Union Busting at Starbucks in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

By Jessica Swarner

April 13, 2023

“For the first time in years, we’ll be happy to call ourselves partners. Partners of the union.”

A Starbucks in Gilbert on April 10 became the seventh in the state to unionize. 

The store at McQueen and Guadalupe roads voted 17-2 to win their union election, according to Starbucks Workers United. 

The employees, like those of other Starbucks locations, said they are concerned about reduced hours, short-staffing, safety, and the company’s refusal to bargain. 

RELATED: NFL Players Union President Calls Starbucks Labor Movement ‘Critical’ at Avondale Rally

“My store is like a family; facing hardships, creating memories, and supporting each other. Because of this, we were able to win today,” union leader Sabrina Martinez said in a press release. “For the first time in years, we have something to look forward to, solidarity and fairness. For the first time in years, we’ll be happy to call ourselves partners. Partners of the union.” 

According to More Perfect Union, nearly 400 stores in 42 states have filed to hold union elections. Just under 300 stores in 37 states have successfully unionized. 

The unionized locations in Arizona are: 

  • Indian School Road and 107th Avenue in Avondale
  • Camelback and Litchfield roads in Litchfield Park
  • Power and Baseline roads in Mesa
  • Crimson Road and Southern Avenue in Mesa
  • Seventh Street and Bell Road in Phoenix
  • University Boulevard and Euclid Avenue in Tucson

According to Starbucks Workers United, the company has fired seven union leaders in Arizona—part of nearly 200 fired Starbucks union leaders across the US. 

Stores that have unionized have accused Starbucks of not negotiating in good faith. Two stores in Arizona went on strike in November as part of the nationwide Red Cup Rebellion, calling on the company to come to the table.

The NFL Players Association and AFL-CIO held a rally in solidarity with Starbucks workers at the unionized Avondale location just before the Super Bowl in Glendale to call on the company to come to the table. 

Howard Schultz, who was the interim Starbucks CEO at the time, agreed in March to testify in front of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, or HELP, Committee about the company’s union-busting tactics after being threatened with a subpoena

“Over the past 18 months Starbucks has waged the most aggressive and illegal union-busting campaign in the modern history of our country,” committee chair US Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said during the hearing. “The fundamental issue we are facing today is whether we have a system of justice that applies to all — or whether billionaires and large corporations can break the law with impunity.”

Schultz denied that the company broke the law.

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  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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