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South Eugene Starbucks workers petition to form union

The Starbucks at 2830 Willamette Street in South Eugene, Oregon.
Brian Bull
The Starbucks at 2830 Willamette Street in South Eugene, Oregon.

A Eugene Starbucks store is pushing to unionize, following a trend that began on the East Coast last month.

In December, workers with a Buffalo, New York Starbucks voted to form a union, a first in the company’s 50-year history. Now several other stores across the country have filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board to unionize, including the Starbucks at 2830 Willamette Street. It’s the first in Oregon to do so.

“It’s all for the same fight," said Jeff McGilvray, president of the Lane County Central Labor Chapter. "Though it is a coffee shop, they are essential workers, and they’ve been working through this whole thing and they deserve better working conditions and benefits, like everybody.”

The Starbucks employees will vote later on whether or not to approve forming a union. If approved and certified by the labor relations board, Starbucks would be legally bound to initiate collective bargaining with the Willamette Street workers in Eugene.

KLCC reached out to Starbucks for a response to this development. The following is a statement shared by a Starbucks spokesperson:

"From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us as partners, and that conviction has not changed. As Rossann Williams, president of Starbucks North America sharedwith our partners in December, “Our commitment to each of you is that we will always stay true to our Mission and Values. We stand for fairness and equity for our partners. We stand for growing and learning together. We stand for the Starbucks Experience, and building a company together where partners and the business can thrive and share success. And, most importantly, we always stand together as one Starbucks. Always.”

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.