Pittsburgh Starbucks Becomes the First in Pennsylvania to Unionize

FILE — Pro-union pins sit on a table during a watch party for Starbucks' employees union election, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. Workers at a Seattle Starbucks store in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood are set to vote on unionization on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, the latest push by workers at the coffee giant to form collective bargaining units. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File)

By Patrick Berkery

April 22, 2022

Pittsburgh joins the growing list of cities where Starbucks workers have voted to unionize, and more Steel City locations could soon follow suit.

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania has its first unionized Starbucks.

Workers at the Starbucks in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood voted unanimously last week to unionize, joining the growing movement among employees at Starbucks stores in the US to form unions.

“We are so proud to become the first union Starbucks café in Pennsylvania,” the Bloomfield Starbucks Organizing Committee said in a written statement. “We are happy to carry the torch in Pittsburgh. Our win today is a win for baristas across the Commonwealth, and all workers in the struggle to organize! We urge Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to do what’s right and sign the Starbucks Workers United Non-interference and Fair Election Principles.”

Both Lt. Gov. and US Senate candidate John Fetterman and Pittsburgh mayor Ed Gainey voiced support of the Bloomfield Starbucks employees on social media.

With the Bloomfield vote, Starbucks now has 20 unionized locations out of their more than 8,000 corporate stores in the US. A store near Buffalo, New York became the first one to unionize last December.

More Starbucks locations in Pittsburgh might soon join that list. On the heels of the Blomfield location’s vote to unionize, the Pennsylvania Joint Board said that six other Starbucks locations in the city have filed for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board.

As the movement to unionize takes hold, employees have accused Starbucks management of engaging in union busting tactics like sending workers anti-union text messages and forcing workers to attend management-led lectures about the apparent downsides of unionizing. 


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