“Essential workers” at a drive-thru Starbucks in Victoria have voted to form a union, citing concerns for workers’ safety and job security, a United Steel Workers official confirmed Thursday (Aug. 20).
“They’re steel workers now,” USW director for Western Canada, Stephen Hunt, said of his new members at the Starbucks at 3180 Douglas St.
Hunt said USW organizers will be meeting with the Starbucks’ employees who “overwhelmingly” voted to join the union Wednesday afternoon. Their next step will be to propose a collective bargaining agreement to the coffee shop’s owners.
Hunt wouldn’t offer a specific timeline, but expects the union will negotiate with Starbucks’ management within months.
Starbucks workers approached the USW via email last month, citing concerns about their job security and the potential spread of COVID-19 in their workplace, Hunt explained, adding it is the first time the USW has organized a union drive digitally.
Hunt said it’s easy for employers to designate the people who work for them as “essential workers,” but stressed that those people “aren’t sacrificial” during a pandemic.
The Starbucks at 3180 is the only drive-thru outlet in Victoria. Black Press Media was not able to reach management for comment prior to deadline.