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Workers at a Starbucks in Cleveland might be the first in Ohio to unionize

Starbucks on West 6th Street Cleveland
Madison Vanhook
The Starbucks location at 1374 W. 6th St. in Cleveland could become the first in Ohio to unionize.

Workers at a Starbucks in Cleveland could be the first in Ohio to be unionized. They are joining the Starbucks Workers United movement that first took root in Buffalo, N.Y.

Madison Vanhook is a shift supervisor at the West 6th Street location and one of the workers advocating to unionize. She says unionizing will help them have a voice in decision making about their work environment.

Madison Vanhook
West 6th Street Starbucks worker in favor of unionizing

“We kind of feel like that’s not fair most of the time because it can be hard to sort of reconcile what’s actually happening in our day to day with some of the decisions coming down all the way from the top, in terms of COVID or just general, like service industry work in general,” she said.

Vanhook says workers had expressed concerns about Starbucks’ handling of COVID guidelines. She says they also hope to get better pay and benefits in line with the increasing cost of living.

When asked for comment, Starbucks responded by email that it did not have anyone available for an interview at this time.

Jay Shah is a broadcast journalist finishing her Master of Arts degree at Kent State University. She joined WKSU as a news intern in 2020 and now works as a freelance producer for Ideastream Public Media’s daily local news headlines.