Unions have, for years, been giving workers a stronger voice in the workplace, and now a group of Lafayette employees is looking to unionize.

According to KADN News 15, the group of employees who work locally for a nationally-known retail coffee shop has submitted a letter to their CEO, announcing their intentions.

Their reason for wanting to unionize? They say they are working in an "unsafe and hostile" environment.

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According to the story, six employees of Starbucks Coffee on Ambassador Caffery submitted a letter outlining their intent to form a union.

Roman Vidrine, according to KADN, said that what instigated the group's interest in unionizing began when the store's air conditioner went out.

“The minute we had to work in 80-degree heat and our only solution was to get a box fan instead of closing the store down because our A/C broke. That was our starting point for wanting to unionize..." - Roman Vidrine, Starbucks employee, via KADN

As for some of the other complaints the group shared in its letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz:

  • The location has poor management
  • the store is short-staffed
  • workers are being pushed too far

In the letter to the CEO, the group states that they "are being treated like workers instead of partners", and that they are not being shown "empathy or respect".

According to Roman Vidrine's post on Facebook, the employees at the Settler's Trace location of Starbucks have joined them in their intent to unionize.

One paragraph in the letter states that management has made attempts to "union bust" the employees at the Ambassador Caffery location, even though there was no union to bust.

The letter also levies complaints against the store's manager, alleging that manager(s) would leave during shifts, failed to arrive for some shifts, slept on the clock, and altered documents to cover for mistakes made that they (management) made.

The group of employees also complained about unfair expectations set by management.

According to the story from KADN, the group applied for unionization through the National Labor Relations Board and a mail-in vote should take place soon.

If the Lafayette group is successful in its bid to unionize, it will be the second Starbucks location to do so, according to the story. A location in New Orleans has already unionized.

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