WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Workers at the Starbucks near 21st and Amidon in Wichita have voted not unionize. 

The workers filed for a union vote in May, becoming the first in the city to do so. KMUW reports the workers rejected the bid in a 5-6 vote.

Workers at the Wichita Starbucks near 21st and Amidon have begun the process to unionize.

 
Previous story from May 22:
 

 

Their business representative, Esau Freeman with Service Employees International Union Local 513, filed the paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board Friday. In a letter to Starbucks’s Interim CEO Howard Schultz, the group said it is seeking a better work-life balance. 


“It's frustrating when we know we’re letting our customers down,” Barista Maia Cuellar Serafini said. “It's frustrating when I see my co-workers, many of whom are in the LGBTQ+ community, are working second jobs and struggling to make ends meet.”

Cuellar Serafini spearheaded the effort which now includes 17 baristas and shift leads at the store. She said workers at Starbucks locations in New York inspired her. 

“I think we're all a lot closer in our store,” she said. “There's about 70% of us who want to do it. I'm hoping more of my coworkers come on board.” 

The group is hoping a union could get them more consistent hours, not affecting a potential pay raise in August. They’re also asking the store’s manager to hire more black employees and create a private space for moms who are breastfeeding. 

“Instead of working a seven to eight hour shift and coming in maybe four or five days a week, you come in five or six days a week and work these shorter shifts that are arguably not as much worth your time, your drive your gas money, and it can be really disheartening,” Cuellar Serafini said.

The store joins over 230 Starbucks locations across the United States that have filed to unionize. According to The Huffington Post, 50 have already completed the process successfully. 

“Those are the types of things that unions fight for,” Freeman said. “There's often bad reputations about unions fighting and doing horrible things, but you know, we've actually evolved over the years.” 

For this particular case in Wichita, the NLRB now needs to decide whether to schedule a vote on this matter. If so, 50% of the store’s employees will need to vote yes to officially form a union. 

Freeman said most of the work and compromising would take place following that vote. He’s hoping for a smooth process until then. 

“Sometimes in campaigns like this, people worry about them now trying to hire more employees to dilute the pool,” Freeman said. 

KAKE News called the store on 21st and Amidon and was told by a worker the manager is out of town. We also reached out to her directly. 

Cuellar Serafini said she hasn’t talked to too many employees at other Starbucks locations in Wichita, but she hopes this filing inspires more than just them to consider unionizing. 

“We also are really hopeful that other service workers in Wichita start to consider maybe doing it within their place of work, if they feel like that's what's right for them,” she said. 

A Starbucks spokesperson provided the following statement to KAKE News in response: 

“We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country. From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed.

As Rossann Williams, EVP and president, North America, shared with our partners “the vote outcomes will not change our shared purpose or how we will show up for each other… We will keep listening, we will keep connecting and we will keep being in service of one another because that’s what we’ve always done and what it means to be partner.”

Additionally, sharing our recent announcement on additional investments in partners and stores, which culminates in nearly $1 billion in total investments in this fiscal year alone.”