Maspeth Starbucks store becomes third Queens location to file petition for union

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A Starbucks store in Maspeth has become the third location in Queens to file a petition for a union election with Workers United NY/NJ Joint Regional Board, the union representative of Starbucks Workers United.

Workers at the store, located at 74-25 Grand Ave., sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz alleging the “unfairness, poor treatment and lack of support” they have felt from the company, as they’re understaffed, overworked and are “feeling drained and exhausted.”

“We are the ones who run your stores, we are the ones that do our best to treat the customers with kindness and warmth, and we are the ones who can make your sales happen, yet we are being treated as if we are not the ones who are the reason this company still stands along with your customers,” the workers said in the letter.

The workers say their concerns have been voiced repeatedly, however, no changes have been made, hence their decision to unionize at this point. 

“When asked by DMs and SMs how the company can help us improve, we voiced our concerns and had them swept under the rug,” said Lily Chin, an employee of three years. “Not only were our voices ignored but we were also belittled for our hard work and efforts we continue to provide for the company. We should be undermined because we don’t have it as ‘tough’ compared to other fast food chains.”

Another employee, TJ Coffino, who has worked at the shop for 2 1/2 years, said that if Starbucks truly sees their workers as “partners,” there should not be such a disconnect between them and management. 

“We feel that management does not adequately address our needs as workers, which is enabled by the fact that management does not have to follow the same rules and standards we as workers are held to do,” Coffino said. 

In their letter, the workers stated that they have been mistreated and feel as though they’re “walking on eggshells with managers and district managers.” 

“We hope Starbucks comes to its senses and begins seeing its partners as real working humans, not robots,” the workers wrote. “We hope Starbucks and its partners can again be on the same page, but for now, we, the partners at Grand Ave., are looking forward to the new change of environment we deserve.” 

In June, the Astoria Boulevard Starbucks shop, located at the corner of 31st Street, became the first location to unionize after deciding they all suffered from low wages, skeleton staffing and minimal training. 

The Starbucks on Ditmars Boulevard and 31st became the second store to unionize, having signed petitions in April. 

Meanwhile, the Starbucks flagship location at 61 Ninth Ave. in Manhattan entered its 21st day of striking following the failure to provide information regarding confirmed reports of bedbugs at the location and failure to set a bargaining date. Store hours have been reduced since the beginning of the strike. 

The workers at the flagship location won their union election in April making history as the first flagship store and the first store in NYC to unionize with Starbucks Workers United/Workers United. 

There are currently 12 unionized Starbucks locations in downstate New York, including seven in NYC. As of today there are also two locations in the region awaiting union election, which includes Maspeth and the Starbucks with AmazonGo location in the New York Times building. There are more than 250 union locations around the country. None currently have a contract.