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Second Bloomington Starbucks location files to unionize, joins 17 nationwide last week

Tan brick building with the Starbucks logo on the side of the building, with Starbucks Coffee written in white lettering at the top.
Aubrey Wright
/
WTIU
The store is located near Indiana University's Bloomington campus and many employees are students. Lee said in the summer, when workers who transfer to a different store try to come back for the following school year, there isn’t a guarantee their job will be available.

Workers at a second Bloomington Starbucks joined 17 other locations across the country last week in filing a petition to unionize their store. Conversations about forming a union at the Indiana Avenue Starbucks have been going on for nearly two years, according to one of the store's baristas Sophie Lee.

Lee has worked at this location for four years. She said that it wasn't until last October that she began officially speaking with unionized stores and union representatives.

“It just felt like something that a lot of people didn't think was feasible until we really started working and realized how much we all wanted it,” Lee said.

Lee said as of filing, the store had 90 percent or more of the store on board with becoming a union.

She said workers decided to file a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board for several reasons, including higher wages.

"Right now with the contract negotiations between Workers United and the company, they're fighting for a $20 minimum wage for baristas, which would be huge," Lee said.

Lee said the store also wants consistent scheduling and job security. She said inconsistent scheduling makes it hard for her to plan for her bills.

“Just, getting rid of that inconsistency and having more stability and like, knowing that I'm going to be able to make rent this month without picking up extra shifts," Lee said.

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The store is located near Indiana University's Bloomington campus and many employees are students. Lee said in the summer, when workers who transfer to a different store try to come back for the following school year, there isn’t a guarantee their job will be available. She said a union will give its members more certainty with job security.

Lee said workers at the store are currently waiting to hear back from the National Labor Relations Board about where and when the election vote will take place.

If this store wins its election it would be the second Bloomington location to unionize and the sixth Starbucks store in the state to unionize joining Clarksville, Valparaiso, Bloomington, and two Plainfield locations.

Timoria is our labor and employment reporter. Contact her at tcunningham@wfyi.org.

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