BOONE, N.C. (WGHP) — A Starbucks in Boone became the first location in North Carolina to unionize, just weeks before a location in South Carolina became the first in their state to unionize.
The Boone store, located at Pride Drive and Blowing Rock Road, announced plans to unionize on April 4 as Starbucks workers around the country joined a growing union movement within the chain.
“We aim to initiate a positive change for ourselves and our fellow partners, to provide encouragement for partners at other stores, to strengthen the unionizing movement, and to secure a positive and safe working environment for all the partners who will succeed us,” the workers said in the petition.
On April 30, Starbucks United Boone announced that, with a vote of 33-2, the location “is now the location of the first certified Starbucks union in the state of North Carolina.”
“We first want to extend our deepest gratitude to our friends and neighbors for providing us with invaluable support throughout this process,” the union said in its announcement. “To our Boone community— your displays of solidarity, your supportive words, your belief in us, and your willingness to stand with us has done more for our team and for this movement than we can convey.”
According to posts by Starbucks United Boone, workers are also fighting to unionize in Asheville.
In the Tarheel State’s southern neighbor, a Greenville Starbucks location became the first in South Carolina to unionize on Monday, according to FOX Carolina. The location on Pelham Road voted to unionize with Starbucks Workers United with a vote of 8-1. There were 29 workers eligible to vote, but only nine ballots were cast.
This latest push to unionize Starbucks workers began in summer 2021, Forbes reports. The push started in Buffalo, New York, where, according to the National Labor Relations Board, Starbucks closed locations where workers were fighting to unionize. The effort has seen 50 union wins to date, as of Monday.
Starbucks has been reacting and trying to incentive workers not to join the union movement with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announcing pay increases and more training. These improvements are only for non-unionized shops as the unionized shops have separate contract negotiations.
“The union contract will not even come close to what Starbucks offers,” Schultz said in a recent earnings conference call, according to Forbes.