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Pro-union rally held outside South Eugene Starbucks

Brian Bull
Union supporters show support for Starbucks workers' move to unionize outside the South Eugene store, Jan. 27, 2022

Today in South Eugene, roughly a hundred union members and supporters rallied behind local Starbucks workers’ move to unionize.

If successful with their petition, the Starbucks on Willamette Street would be the first in Oregon to form a union, a trending development at several Starbucks across the U.S., including in New York, Ohio, and Arizona.

Jacob Lamourie and Ky Fireside both work at the Willamette Street store. They say their hearing on the petition is this Friday (Jan.28th).

Brian Bull
Jacob Lamourie (left) and Ky Fireside (right), workers at the South Eugene Starbucks on Willamette Street, at today's rally.

“That’s where Starbucks is gonna be trying to argue, that despite years of legal precedent, a single store, they’re saying it isn’t an effective bargaining unit,” Lamourie told KLCC. “They want the whole district to vote to dilute stores with strong support like ours. And then after that it should be like four weeks ‘til we get our vote.”

“None of our issues are issues with our store specifically, we think our store’s run really well,” added Fireside. “It’s just issues that we have with corporate. We just want a seat at the table, we want to have that line of communication opened up for us.”

Both expect their coworkers to overwhelmingly support the formation of a union. 24 out of 26 employees voted to approve the petition, which was filed earlier this month with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Brian Bull
Lonnie Douglas of ESSN, speaks to the crowd at today's rally.

Among those speaking at today’s rally was Lonnie Douglas, of the Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN).

“If you have a good boss, they’re not going to mind that you unionize, right?” Douglas asked the crowd. “So hopefully Starbucks will show that they’re a good boss, and they’ll support these workers in their efforts to unionize.

“If that doesn’t happen, we want Starbucks to know that this community supports these workers, and that we stand behind them.”

In an email sent to KLCC after the petition was submitted to the NLRB, Starbucks says they’ve been clear that they and their employees are better together as partners, without a union between, “and that conviction has not changed.”

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ 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 (19 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.
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