ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke Starbucks workers plan on celebrating Saturday afternoon after the baristas at the Bridges store unanimously voted to form a union.
Chuck Simpson, vice president of the Western VA Labor Federation, shared a statement saying that the Bridges’ Starbucks workers virtually decided in a 14-0 vote on Monday, June 27 to form a union, becoming the first store to unionize in Roanoke and southwest Virginia.
Workers reportedly filed their recognition petition in February, cast their ballots throughout June, and officially became a union through Workers United during the National Labor Relations Board meeting on Monday.
“I am happy these workers have unanimously chosen to have a voice in their workplace and the
rights to demand better working conditions through union representation,” said Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke). “The ability for workers to come together to better their workplace and achieve higher standards of living is as important as the unions that helped build this country. We are pleased to stand with them in solidarity as they work to negotiate their contract”
Currently, there are 13 Commonwealth Starbucks stores that have become unionized, with more on the way, according to Simpson.
Simpson says all working individuals deserve the freedom to form a union to make their workplaces safer, better, and more comfortable to negotiate benefits and wages.
Virginia’s organizing movement — which is still growing — is reportedly helping to set up the pace for workers across the country
“This successful and unanimous decision by Starbucks partners to join together and form a union represents a step forward for workers’ rights in Southwest Virginia. Together, they can bargain for better benefits and wages – an improved quality of life that is hard-earned and well deserved,” Roanoke City Commissioner of Revenue Ryan LaFountain said in a statement about the Bridges Starbucks workers’ decision.
Simpson has invited the community to participate in a rally from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 2 at 8 Old Whitmore Avenue SE in Roanoke to celebrate the decision.