Affogato style Frappuccino served in Starbucks. (Joshua Trujillo)

May 14, 2022

By Ramona du Houx

AUGUSTA — On May 13, 2022, all three Democratic leaders in the Maine House of Representatives shared supportive statements at the news of Starbucks workers in Biddeford Maine filing a petition for a union election. The Biddeford store’s letter to the President and CEO of Starbucks is available here. Starbucks workers signed their letter ‘In Solidarity, Partners of store #48490’. Today’s announcement makes Maine the 35th state where Starbucks workers are unionizing. 

“Biddeford has a long history of labor organizing going back to Maine workers fighting for better conditions in the textile mills. Today, Biddeford’s Starbucks employees in my legislative district are making the choice to form a collective voice to advocate for themselves and strengthen their workplace.” Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford stated adding, “I am proud this movement is galvanizing Maine workers! All workers should have the right to form a union free from intimidation. As they request in their letter, Biddeford’s workers seek empathy, respect and transparency. I stand in solidarity with these workers. It is inspiring to see more and more labor organizing taking place in Maine.“

Last month in Staten Island employees were granted the right to unionize by a judge marking legal precedent. Christian Smalls, the president of the independent Amazon Labor Union (ALU), told NPR shortly after the victory that his group had heard from workers in 50 other Amazon facilities, adding, “Just like the Starbucks movement, we want to spread like wildfire across the nation.”

“The Biddeford Starbucks has taken a brave and historic step today, and I congratulate them. As a union member myself, I know what strength and relief comes when workers have the ability to organize and collectively bargain. As workers at Biddeford’s Starbucks push to unionize, I want you to know we have your back. The right to organize is fundamental to improving labor conditions, it’s fundamental to our democracy and it is a right that must be respected,” said House Majority Leader Michelle Dunphy of Old Town.

Maine unions saw their ranks swell to 82,000 members in 2020 from 69,000 in 2019. The two top House Democrats are union members.

Assistant Majority Leader Rachel Talbot Ross of Portland: 

“I am proud to stand in solidarity with workers who are taking this historic step as the first store in the state to join Starbucks Workers United. By courageously moving this effort forward, the Biddeford store will join colleagues organizing across the country who are ensuring there is dignity in the workplace. I fully support these efforts to unionize in order to improve the working conditions, benefits, and salaries for all, ” said Assistant Majority Leader Rachel Talbot Ross of Portland.

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