Astoria lawmaker stands with Starbucks workers, launches 2022 re-election campaign

State Senator Michael Gianaris stands in solidarity with workers at an Astoria Starbucks who announced they are organizing to form a union. (Photo courtesy of Gianaris’ office)

Workers at an Astoria Starbucks announced they’re the latest in the national chain to join a unionization effort.

State Senator Michael Gianaris joined workers at the store, located at 30-18 Astoria Blvd., which became the fourth Starbucks location in the city to form an organizing committee.

“Every worker should have the right to organize a union and bargain collectively,” Gianaris said. “I stand with the workers at my local store and the entire Starbucks Workers United effort as they fight for better working conditions and fair pay for all associates. I call on Starbucks to allow a free, unencumbered election these workers deserve.”

Gianaris also signed a letter demanding that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz agree to fair election principles ahead of the union vote. The letter of solidarity was signed by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani and Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán.

“We greatly appreciate the support and solidarity we have been receiving from Senator Michael Gianaris while we fight to get ourselves into the decision making rooms where we rightfully belong,” said Bandi Aldu, Starbucks Workers United organizing committee member.

The workers declared their intention in a letter to Schultz.

“Starbucks continues to cling to an outdated reputation as a progressive corporation, yet during a period of record company revenues, these profits are not reflected where it matters most,” they wrote. “Through the global pandemic, we have been faced with increased responsibilities, questionable health and safety protocols, and irregular hours, with inadequate compensation to show for it.”

Gianaris has been active in supporting Starbucks workers as they organize at more than 100 stores in 19 states, including the first Starbucks in the nation to launch a unionization effort in Buffalo in December.

Meanwhile, Gianaris launched his 2022 re-election campaign Sunday at Katch Astoria joined by progressive activists, community leaders and organized labor.

Gianaris launches his 2020 re-election campaign with supporters at Katch Astoria. (Photo courtesy of Gianaris’ office)

”Working with our communities, we have made incredible progress — including strong tenant laws, fully funding our schools, protecting Roe vs. Wade in our state and stopping another toxic fossil fuel plant from setting up shop on the East River waterfront,” Gianaris said. “While we have achieved great success, there is more work to do, and I’m eager to continue this fight together with my community. I am humbled and honored to seek another term in the state Senate with their support.”

Gianaris played an integral role in stopping the NRG power plant as part of his long fight to improve the area of western Queens known as “Asthma Alley” where residents have higher-than-average rates for respiratory diseases due to the high concentration of power plants.

“Senator Gianaris has fought to get the lead out of drinking water in our schools and parks, and to move off fossil fuels and to clean energy in New York City,” said Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “He’s been a champion of the environment and public health, pushing for legislation that has had lasting impacts for residents in his district and across the state.”

Gianaris was one of the progressive leaders in western Queens that stood in opposition to Amazon’s plan to build its HQ2 campus in Long Island City in 2019.

“We’re proud to endorse Senator Mike Gianaris for reelection,” Working Families Party Director Sochie Nnaemeka said. “As deputy majority leader, Senator Gianaris has championed bold progressive legislation, stood up to corporate power, worked to strengthen voter rights, and balanced the scales of justice in New York. Our party looks forward to working alongside the Senator to ensure that everyone in our state can truly thrive.”

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