Customers giving congratulatory 'digital tips' to newly unionised Starbucks workers

Barista at ‘the first unionised Starbucks’ says regulars and newcomers were ‘excited’ by historic vote

Gino Spocchia
Monday 13 December 2021 16:54 GMT
Starbucks Employees at Buffalo Store Vote To Unionize

Starbucks workers who became the first in the company’s history to be unionised last week have received congratulatory “digital tips” from customers, many of whom are new.

Workers voted 19-8 in favour of unionisation last Thursday, and were among three Buffalo Starbucks to vote on the labour issue.

Jaz Brisack, a barista at the unionised Elmwood Avenue store, tweeted on Sunday that customers had been “excited” by the union vote and that many were new to Starbucks.

“Customers are excited,” she wrote. “Many of them are new to Starbucks and tell me they are only here because we are now union.”

Ms Brisack, the barista, shared an image of a “digital tip” she had received from a customer who had written on their order instructions, “don’t make” and “congrats on union”.

Regular customers at the Elmwood Avenue Starbucks have also congratulated the workers by making badges with slogans such as “A woman’s place is in her union”, and “Starbucks workers united”.

“Lots of orders like this,” she tweeted. “One person suggested these orders are actually a way to give digital tips. We are eating good this week.”

“One of our regulars (whose morning conversation is usually nothing more than ‘Medium coffee, please!’ and ‘Thank you!’) came in for the second time this week with union pins for us,” Ms Brisack tweeted.

The decision by the Elmwood Avenue store was hailed by union representatives and Democrats after lobbying against the vote by Starbucks executives, who had met with employees face-to-face before the vote.

While the results of two other stores remain unresolved, the call by Starbucks workers on Elmwood Avenue was a first for the Seattle-based coffee chain in its history.

The National Labor Relations Board said Starbucks and Workers United, the union vying to represent the workers, have five business days to submit their objections to the election results at all three stores.

Starbucks executives have argued for decades that its stores function best when it works directly with employees, while union activists say workers will receive greater rights and better working conditions as part of a union.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in