WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The first Starbucks in Rhode Island has joined the push to unionize employees at the coffee chain.
Workers from the Pace Boulevard location announced their intentions on Wednesday.
In a letter to CEO Howard Schultz, they say unionization will give their store the tools it needs to provide the service their customers want.
“We need proper staffing, proper training, and proper facilities to ensure our quality of work,” the letter read.
The workers added that unionization is an act of “self-defense against a company that would gladly be rid of any partner who got in the way of their bottom line.”
“As the first store in Rhode Island to petition for unionization, we hope our efforts can serve as an example for others in the state, and show them that a better workplace is possible,” the letter concluded.
It’s now up to the company to either voluntarily recognize the Warwick employees union support, or there will be a vote among workers governed by the National Labor Relations Board.
A Buffalo, New York, location was the first of nine Starbucks locations nationwide to unionize back in December.
Starbucks officials have argued workers don’t need to unionize and opposed efforts to organize employees in their stores.