Workers at Another Gilbert Starbucks Vote to Unionize for Better Conditions

Great Neck, N.Y.: A woman holds up a sign as she joins other protestors in a rally against what they perceive to be union busting tactics, outside a Starbucks in Great Neck, New York, demanding the reinstatement of a former employee on August 15, 2022. (Photo by Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

By Jessica Swarner

July 7, 2023

Stores that have unionized have accused Starbucks of not negotiating in good faith. Now, another Starbucks in Gilbert has voted to unionize, joining 7 others in Arizona.

Workers at the Starbucks at Baseline and Higley roads in Gilbert voted 18-4 on June 30 to unionize. 

This is the second store in Gilbert to unionize and the eighth in the state. 

“Winning the election is like breathing a breath of fresh air into our store after a solid year of constant turnover and dissatisfaction,” barista Ash Rotar said in a press release. “We were tired of being told we should hate our job, so we fought for this change and couldn’t be more excited to start this journey.” 

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According to More Perfect Union, workers at 432 Starbucks in 46 states have filed to unionize. So far, 332 stores have been successful. 

The first store to unionize in Gilbert was the location at McQueen and Guadalupe roads. Workers there voted 17-2 on April 10 to form a union. 

The employees, like those of other Starbucks locations, said they were concerned about reduced hours, short-staffing, safety, and the company’s refusal to bargain with stores that had already unionized. 

The other unionized Starbucks locations in Arizona are located at: 

  • 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 (SBWU), the company has fired nine union leaders in Arizona—part of over 230 fired Starbucks union leaders across the US. 

Stores that have unionized have accused Starbucks of not negotiating in good faith. On June 30, the Avondale and McQueen/Guadalupe Gilbert stores joined a nationwide strike calling on the company to come to the bargaining table. Two stores in Arizona went on strike in November as part of the nationwide Red Cup Rebellion with the same demand.  

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

According to SBWU, the Higley and Baseline employees are now part of over 8,000 baristas nationwide organizing to improve working conditions. 

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Starbucks has now reportedly fired nine organizers from Arizona stores.

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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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