Starbucks employees at Ben Hill Griffin Pkwy store in Estero will vote whether to unionize

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo
Published: Updated:

A Southwest Florida Starbucks is pushing for change. The staff at the location on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway in Estero says one of the reasons they want to unionize is because they aren’t making enough money to afford basic living expenses.

There is a push at some Starbucks locations in Florida and across the nation to unionize.

Workers at this location say they continue to put up note cards on the community board inside that have slogans such as “You are the union” and “Union Strong” and they believe management takes them down every time.

These Starbucks employees say it’s time for a change, and for a union to represent them.

Barista Rj Dellasalle works at the Estero Starbucks on Ben Hill Griffen and said, “Immediately after getting hired, I sort of noticed this hierarchy in our workplace, a lot of top-down control.”

So Rj Dellasalle joined with other Starbucks employees, some members of the community, and the Southwest Florida Democratic Socialists of America.

Chants of “What do we want? Union. When do we want it? Now,” echoed in the parking lot.

“We will increase our benefits, will increase our pay, decrease our working hours, and have more labor to support us in order to properly run this store,” Dellasalle said.

Despite the employee call for change, Starbucks did a brisk business that day.

The Starbucks employees told us they will vote on whether to begin the process of forming a union this Thursday and Friday.

No one with management would talk to WINK News but the company has created a webpage called We are One Starbucks.

On it, the company says “We don’t believe having a union will meaningfully change or solve the problems you’ve identified in your stores. We know we aren’t perfect, but we believe our challenges are best addressed by working together.

Since the first Starbucks stores voted to begin the unionization process just nine months ago, 250 more nationwide have followed suit.

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