The Ditmars Boulevard and 31st Street Starbucks recently voted to unionize, making it the second Queens location to do so.
Workers voted seven to four in favor of unionizing with Starbucks Workers United (SBWU). The total number of unionized stores is 176 and growing.
“Today is a testament to the power of the working class,” said Austin Locke, partner for 5 1/2 years at Astoria Ditmars. “Organized and unified, workers run the world and I hope our victory at Starbucks Ditmars Boulevard inspires other workers to unionize.”
According to a letter written by Ditmars Boulevard workers to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, employees have experienced harassment, racism, sexism and physical violence at work. On top of this, they experience “meager wages and poor staffing.”
“We have appealed to bosses throughout all of this; filed reports when physically attacked by customers, reported racism and sexism from customers and reported workplace injuries,” read the letter. “Little has changed and the response from management is essentially, ‘I’m sorry,’ with no concrete steps for results.”
State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris issued a statement in support of the recent vote to unionize.
“Congratulations to the latest Queens Starbucks workers exercising their right to organize and join a union,” Gianaris said. “Organized labor is the foundation of a strong working class, which we need now more than ever. I am thrilled this movement keeps growing, and I am proud of the workers leading this fight.”
Some demands from the Ditmars location include more sick time, self-defense training, increased wages and free, full-coverage healthcare.
The other Astoria Starbucks location, at Astoria Boulevard and 31st Street, celebrated its unanimous vote to unionize in early June. Local leaders reached out to commend the brave workers. Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani said he was very proud to represent the Starbucks.
“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.”