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Workers at Starbucks Waterloo Town Square vote to join the United Steelworkers union

May 4, 2023

WATERLOO, Ont. – Starbucks Waterloo Town Square workers have voted by a wide margin to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

“We started this campaign after being inspired by other stores showing us that it was possible. The best part of this job is the community that the partners create together, and we want to be able to protect and improve the workplace to make it better for everyone,” said a barista at the Waterloo Town Square store who wished to remain anonymous.

After the union application was filed, Starbucks flew in their “union experts,” also known as union busters, who sat in the store every day for the last week, watching the employees work and holding one-on-one meetings with each employee, giving them misinformation in an attempt to scare them into voting against the union.

“Today, Starbucks Waterloo workers made history by becoming the first unionized Starbucks location in Ontario. The employees took a bold first step in improving their workplace and they won! Starbucks pulled out all the stops trying to pursue these employees to vote no to the union but the workers stood together and stood strong in the face of this intimidation. Their bravery is an inspiration to others,” said Darlene Jalbert, USW District 6 Organizing Co-ordinator.

The Starbucks Waterloo location is the first unionized store in Ontario, joining Starbucks workers in Victoria, B.C., who voted to join the USW, becoming the first-ever Starbucks location to join a union in North America. The USW also represents Starbucks workers in Vancouver, Surrey and Langley in British Columbia and in Edmonton, Sherwood Park and Calgary in Alberta.

“Workers want to be able to hold Starbucks accountable and make sure the company lives up to the values it constantly preaches, especially when it comes to respecting and valuing ‘partners.’ We also want Starbucks to know that its track record of illegal responses to unionization does not scare us, but makes us want to protect ourselves even more,” added the barista.

“I want to congratulate and welcome Starbucks Waterloo workers to the Steelworkers. The Steelworkers is a big family and we will continue to have your back as you work towards your first collective agreement and beyond,” said Myles Sullivan, USW District 6 Director (Ontario and Atlantic Canada).

The USW represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.

Workers interested in joining the United Steelworkers union can learn more about the benefits at imaginebetter.work.

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Media Contact

Myles Sullivan, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Darlene Jalbert, USW District 6 Organizing Co-ordinator, 613-362-4414
Lorei Leigh De Los Reyes, USW Communications, 416-544-6009

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