LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — On Friday, Starbucks workers at the Casino Center and Clark Avenue location in Las Vegas demanded union recognition from the company, a release stated.
“I’ve worked for Starbucks for nearly a decade, and so much has changed. Partners? We haven’t felt seen or heard for months,” Zarian Pouncy, a barista of 9 years and organizer at the Las Vegas location, said. “The third place is dying. The union stands to equally unite a partnership with Corporate. They just have to meet us halfway.”
According to the release, workers sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan to announce the formation of their union.
In the letter, workers explained they’re unionizing because “We are called partners, but it’s clear in our interactions with corporate that we are anything but.”
The Casino Center and Clark Avenue employees are joining a nationwide movement of over 9,000 baristas organizing for better working conditions, fair wages, and consistent schedules.
“I am motivated to join the union because of the unity and job security. I also believe there is strength in numbers!” Trinoon Hunter, a barista of 16 years and organizer at the Las Vegas location, said.
Workers at three other Starbucks locations in the Las Vegas-area have already unionized.
The full letter sent to Narasimhan is as follows:
We, the partners of the Casino Center and Clark store in Las Vegas, are writing to inform you of our intent to unionize.
For several years, our store has been a hub for business professionals in the Downtown Las Vegas area just looking to grab their cup of coffee and be on their way. Shift supervisors and baristas alike are forced to forgo excellent customer service and instead tend to third place issues like theft and violence during their shifts. Partner experience and safety has been pushed to the wayside and customer connection comments regularly raise the need for security at our location, however it seems that numbers and performance are all that matters.
Furthermore, shift supervisors have been threatened with write-ups if our peak times were not improved by the end of the summer. Our simple weekly team morale boosters of donning pink shirts on Wednesdays and red aprons on Fridays (a tradition in Starbucks to wear red on Fridays) have been squashed, even though dress code allows us to wear any color shirt. All signs of partner originality and creativity simply disappeared from our store’s signature charm.
We are called partners, but it’s clear in our interactions with corporate that we are anything but.
Partners are an essential part of the Starbucks experience and yet we see significantly less benefits for our work as we put our lives on the line every day to serve our customers and earn profits for shareholders and executives. We believe in equitable pay for all partners and we deserve to earn a livable wage. We believe that partners should be empowered to protect their health, both physical and mental, in the workplace. We deserve to feel safe and while our store manager has done an incredible job supporting us, we believe that Starbucks should take a more active role in protecting our safety. We believe that equitable pay, empowered safety practices, and consideration for the actual partner experience will lead to a better Starbucks.
Our partners are overworked, underpaid, and fed up. Partners have been working six days a week and often up to ten days in a row. Most days we are met with a skeleton crew because of labor cuts across the company. The amount of labor earned does not reflect the amount of labor needed to sustain a healthy partner experience. We are all stretched extremely thin and about to snap.
We are tired.
We are done.
We were told that each of us is replaceable. Each partner, even though unique in their own right, is replaceable. However, we are strong and we are Downtown Las Vegas Starbucks. We have originality and share a deep passion for craft and coffee, just as you do. We love this company and only want what is best for our team. We hope our concerns are met with open ears, as this is our last and only hope for anyone to listen.
Thank you, and in solidarity,