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Victoria Starbucks location workers union inks deal with coffee giant

Douglas Street drive-thru staff’s agreement first for Starbucks corporate stores in Canada
Staff at the Starbucks at Douglas and Alpha streets in Victoria have settled their first collective agreement with the company after voting last summer to unionize. (Google Street View)

Starbucks baristas at Douglas and Alpha streets in Victoria have settled a collective agreement with the international coffee giant.

On June 29, United Steelworkers (USW) announced that workers at the drive-thru location unanimously ratified a three-year deal the union says protects against workplace violence and aggression, offers leave following domestic violence and calls for wage increases of up to $2.47 per hour based on years of service.

The agreement makes the Douglas Street shop the first unionized corporate Starbucks location in Canada, said USW representative Tara Cavanagh in an email to Black Press Media. She noted that some locations within grocery stores have already unionized.

Starbucks barista and bargaining committee member Sarah Broad said in a release she was excited to see the contract completed. Workers voted to form a union last August, citing concerns over job security and safety during the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Workers at Starbucks drive-thru on Douglas Street form Steel Workers union

“It felt like a really big battle to bargain with a company like Starbucks, but I am very happy that we did,” Broad said. “I cannot wait to see the impact that the changes will bring, not only for us but for other baristas too.”

Low-wage workers are rarely treated with the respect deserved from their employers and customers, said Cavanagh. They’re instead most likely to work overtime or unsafe shifts to manage a living wage.

USW Western Canada director Stephen Hunt said the Steelworkers do not discriminate on which jobs or wage levels are brought into the union.

“With this new contract, Starbucks members are helping to set a new standard for baristas and coffee shop workers,” he said.

READ ALSO: Local coffeehouse owners branch out to Saanich, transforming former Starbucks

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