This article was written by Victor Ocasio at Newsday.
A Westbury Starbucks location has become the second to unionize on Long Island following a successful vote Friday night.
With a unanimous final count of 23-0 in favor, employees in the Gallery at Westbury Plaza at 914 Old Country Rd. in Garden City have voted to join the Workers United New York New Jersey Regional Board, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.
Commenting on the Westbury store workers' vote, Starbucks spokeswoman Sarah Albanesi said Friday night in an email: "As we have said throughout, we will respect the process and will bargain in good faith guided by our principles laid out here. We hope that the union does the same."
The coffee chain employees, many of whom are in their teens, first filed a petition seeking a union vote back in April. The workers are part of a growing union movement among Starbucks locations across the country.
"We're very happy," said Jen Dunn, 32, a shift supervisor at the Westbury Starbucks and organizer behind the union push. “My younger co-workers are very excited to be a part of it.”
Dunn, who started working at the store in 2020, said that because many of her co-workers are in their teens — some as young as 16 — early organizing efforts required educating some of them on what a union was to begin with.
Going into Friday's in-person vote, however, she said she and her fellow workers were confident they would secure a win.
“While it may seem like a slog at times, it’s worth it,” she said of the organizing effort. “We’re in this together.”
To date, at least 290 stores in 38 states have filed petitions with the federal government to unionize, with dozens of elections in the works nationwide, according to More Perfection Union, a nonprofit news organization tracking the Starbucks union push. Organizers have so far secured nearly 150 union vote victories.
Only 19 stores have lost their union election, according to organizers.
Friday’s vote comes the same day that the Seattle-based coffee giant closed a Starbucks location in Ithaca two months after workers there successfully voted to unionize. Workers at the store, at 402 College Ave. near Cornell University, were given less than a week’s notice of the closure.
Dunn said news of that store closure is "really concerning" and that workers at her store will have to "keep an eye" on the issue going forward.
“We’re a very busy store so if they close us, that would be stupid," Dunn said.
Albanesi, the Starbucks spokeswoman, said of the Ithaca store closing, "We open and close stores as a regular part of our operations."
Workers at a Starbucks store at the Massapequa Village Square on Merrick Road successfully won its union vote in early May, becoming the first store to unionize on the Island.
That same day, workers at a Great Neck shop narrowly voted against unionization. Workers there were the first on the Island to begin publicly pushing for a union back in early February.
Leanne-Tory Murphy, a spokeswoman for Workers United, said the union has challenged the outcome of that failed vote in Great Neck, alleging that Starbucks management engaged in anti-union labor activities, undermining the outcome. The union has since filed 22 unfair labor practice allegations against Starbucks management at the store.
Workers at a Starbucks in Farmingville submitted signed union cards in April with the NLRB to secure a future union vote. Their union election will be held via mail from June 17 through July 8.
A vote count date for that election has yet to be scheduled, a spokeswoman with Workers United said.