FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Fayetteville Starbucks is working to become the first store in Arkansas to form a union.
Workers at the Fayetteville store on Wedington and N. Salem filed for a union election with Workers United last week. According to a press release, nearly 250 Starbucks stores have formed a union since last year.
Dylan Hartsfield is a shift supervisor and union organizer at the Fayetteville store.
“We’ve had a rough go of it with COVID and we wanted to hold the company accountable, and make sure that our needs as people were being taken into consideration first,” Hartsfield.
A barista at the store, Emily Marthey, said she wants to ensure she has a say in what goes on at the store she works at.
“We just want to be able to form a contract with Starbucks to say that we have a place and we have a voice when it comes to our workplace,” Marthey said.
Marthey and Hartsfield said the majority of the employees, also known as partners, at the store are in favor of forming a union. However, the workers are facing some backlash from the company and district management.
“A lot of what we’re doing right now is fighting the union busting, a lot of fear tactics, a lot of threats, a lot of just making people scared,” Hartsfield said.
Starbucks sent a statement to KNWA/FOX24 regarding the union organizing.
We respect our partners rights to organize but believe that working directly together—without a third party—is the best way to continue to elevate the partner experience at Starbucks.
The company went on to explain it can’t implement any future raise wages or benefits at stores where union organizing is taking place.
The Fayetteville store plans to vote on whether or not to unionize in mid-November.