Amos Hall Starbucks workers reflect on the union victory


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Starbucks at Amos Hall on Fifth Avenue.

By Punya Bhasin, Contributing Editor

Sam Knapp, a shift supervisor and member of the Amos Hall Starbucks organizing committee, said the victory felt like a step towards a better work life for him and his fellow workers. 

“I’m glad that we won, I think it’s a big win and it shows big companies like Starbucks that we have a voice and can make an impact,” Knapp said. 

Workers at the Amos Hall Starbucks unionized on May 6 in a 10-3 vote, creating one of the largest Starbucks unions in the country, with 44 eligible employees. 

The National Labor Relations Board announced the results after tallying ballots initially mailed on April 22. Following the NLRB’s certification of the results, the union can elect a bargaining committee and begin contract negotiations with company representatives. 

The workers at the Amos Hall Starbucks location chose to join Workers United, a Service Employees International Union affiliate representing more than 80,000 workers in North America. Employees at the store officially petitioned to unionize on March 4, citing staff shortages, poor working conditions and loss of hours as their reasons to unionize. 

Knapp said he hopes Starbucks will be more open to their concerns and cooperate with them to find solutions. 

“I think now that we have a union, I hope that we can work with Starbucks to help fix the problems, such as getting more hours,” Knapp said. 

Starbucks did not respond to requests for comment on the Amos Hall results.

Haley Palmore, a worker at the Amos Hall location, said she is proud of her fellow workers who voted for the union.

“I think it is really great that people voted and I am proud of my fellow workers who voted for a union, and I think it was really cool to have been a part of a group that was able to win a union elections, especially since we are all so young and we went up against such a big corporation,” Palmore said. 

Knapp said the union election numbers indicate the overwhelming support Starbucks workers have for unions. 

“I think the fact that we had the majority of the votes in favor of a union shows that the employees here are frustrated with the way Starbucks has been treating us and they are hoping that a union can help represent and fight for us,” Knapp said. 

Palmore said she hopes that when negotiations start there is a priority made to the quality of life for workers. 

“I think we should ask for better wages and better working conditions, along with more hours when negotiations start,” Palmore said. “I think it is important to make sure that Starbucks workers are given livable wages, because we all deserve a good quality of life.”

Julian Burgan, a shift supervisor at the Craig Street Starbucks, said the Amos Hall win gives hope to other Starbucks locations like Craig Street who are looking to unionize. 

“I am really happy about the Amos Hall win, I believe it is a good sign for our election and shows Starbucks that the union efforts should be taken seriously and our concerns will be heard,” Burgan said. 

Knapp said the Amos Hall win is just the beginning and there is still more that needs to be done.

“The win is huge, but the organizing committee still has a lot more to do,” Knapp said. “We have to find a bargaining committee and start negotiations, and there is still a lot more to do before we can fully celebrate and reap the benefits of a union.”