Newly unionized Astoria Boulevard Starbucks workers celebrate with local leaders

Astoria Boulevard Starbucks unionize
Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani, Starbucks worker Brandi Alduk, Ana María Archila and Jumaane Williams discuss unionization in Astoria. (Photo courtesy of Ana María Archila campaign)

Astoria Boulevard Starbucks workers met with Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani and candidates for governor and lieutenant governor Wednesday, June 8, to celebrate their official vote to unionize.  

Gubernatorial candidate Jumaane Williams, Lieutenant Governor Ana María Archila and Mamdani sat with the recently unionized workers at the Orale Mexico restaurant across the street from Starbucks. The three community leaders assured the Starbucks workers that they are not alone in this fight. 

“I’m very proud to represent this Starbucks as the state Assembly member for Astoria. We have seen these workers lead the way time and again with a vision of New York where there’s an understanding that all is valuable is created by labor,” Mamdani said. “We know this will not be the last Starbucks in Queens that charts forward this course. This is an inspiration to all of us.”

Williams, Archila and Mamdani all expressed their solidarity for the workers in Ithaca who lost their jobs after Starbucks closed down the location; Ithaca had voted to unionize in April. 

“Today we stand shoulder to shoulder with them and condemn the retaliation by Starbucks in Ithaca, where the company is unlawfully closing one of the first locations to unionize,” Archila said. “It is the job of elected officials to match people’s courage, the courage to fight for one another, demand what we deserve, and even to face intimidation of their bosses to do so.”

Astoria Boulevard Starbucks employee Brandi Alduk also condemned the company for its retaliatory efforts in Ithaca. 

“The workers of Astoria stand in solidarity with not just the Ithaca workers, but every Starbucks worker and every worker across our nation who is fighting the good fight,” Alduk said. “To anyone who is afraid to unionize, there is power in numbers as this movement grows. I hope you feel more comfortable stepping forward and joining the fight.”

After a unanimous vote, the Astoria Boulevard Starbucks joined Workers United — making it the first Queens location to unionize as of Monday, June 6. 

Eleven employees at the location on the corner of Astoria Boulevard and 31st Street agreed to join Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 2 million members in various fields. 

Alduk said that though she was praised for her courage by local electeds and leaders, she has been scared throughout this process. 

“It doesn’t feel brave to be doing it. It’s nice to get recognition from people who made their careers out of fighting injustices,” Alduk said. “If need be, we know they would try to help my store if we were to be unemployed. You never know with organizing and unionizing, there’s always a risk of losing your job.”

Alduk said the three leaders promised to help with fundraising for employees if Starbucks were to retaliate.

Alduk encouraged her community members to show their support for workers by ordering a coffee and saying “union strong” or wearing a Starbucks Workers United pin.

“It allows the workers to see that their community will stand in solidarity with them and be willing to support them,” Alduk said.