Starbucks employee Zach Gabelein outside of the Mill Creek location where he works on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Starbucks employee Zach Gabelein outside of the Mill Creek location where he works on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mill Creek Starbucks votes 21-1 to form union

“We obviously are kind of on the high of that win,” store bargaining delegate Zach Gabelein said.

MILL CREEK — Workers at a Starbucks in Mill Creek overwhelmingly voted to unionize Wednesday, hoping to get better staffing, pay and benefits.

When a National Labor Relations Board representative read aloud the results, the employees erupted in cheers at the store, located at 164th Street SE and Bothell Everett Highway.

Zach Gabelein, the store’s elected bargaining delegate, said there was an “exciting atmosphere” after the votes were tallied.

“We obviously are kind of on the high of that win,” he said. “I’m very excited about that win.”

They join 25 other Starbucks locations in the state and over 400 nationwide that have formed unions.

The vote makes the Mill Creek location Snohomish County’s third unionized Starbucks. The Broadway and 37th Street location in Everett became the first to unionize here in June 2022. One year later, the Lakewood Crossing store in Marysville followed suit.

Last month, Gabelein and his coworkers filed for unionization, along with 20 other stores across 14 states, making it the single biggest filing day for Starbucks stores. Of those, 15 stores have held elections so far, with all but one voting to unionize.

Leading up to the vote, Gabelein said most employees had one-on-one meetings with managers telling them they should vote no.

“They don’t think it’s right for our store,” he said. He recalls managers saying they’d like a “second chance.”

A Starbucks spokesperson declined to comment on the meetings.

On the Mill Creek union vote, the spokesperson said the company respected “the rights of our partners to organize and bargain collectively, and we look forward to reaching ratified agreements in 2024 for represented stores.”

Gabelein said filing for unionization has already yielded results.

Starbucks fixed a malfunctioning faucet that employees were complaining about since the fall.

“That has never been a priority it seemed until now,” he said. “It’s a little bit of proof that our actions have created the results we’re looking for.”

He said three employees did not cast a vote: Two were unavailable and the third was indifferent towards unionization.

Now, the National Labor Relations Board must certify the election’s outcome.

Starbucks workers first voted to form a union in 1985. A few years later, the union dissolved amid a decertification campaign. Between 1992 and 2021, only Starbucks employees who worked for other companies, like supermarkets, were unionized.

The current campaign began in 2021 in Buffalo, New York.

Since 2022, the National Labor Relations Board found labor law violations in 48 out of 49 cases against the company.

In late February, Starbucks said in a statement it had agreed to start discussing a “foundational framework” for organizing and collective bargaining. The statement also said in-person bargaining for all unionized stores will start in late April.

Looking at the contract proposals the union is working on, Gabelein doesn’t want to hang up his apron anytime soon.

“If (Starbucks) would agree to this, I would be a lifelong person at Starbucks, ” he said. “It’s something that I would like to retire with.”

Aina de Lapparent Alvarez: 425-339-3449; aina.alvarez@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @Ainadla.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Driver arrested in fatal crash on Highway 522 in Maltby

The driver reportedly rear-ended Jeffrey Nissen as he slowed down for traffic. Nissen, 28, was ejected and died at the scene.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
3 charged with armed home invasion in Mountlake Terrace

Elan Lockett, Rodney Smith and Tyler Taylor were accused of holding a family at gunpoint and stealing their valuables in January.

PAWS Veterinarian Bethany Groves in the new surgery room at the newest PAWS location on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New Snohomish hospital makes ‘massive difference’ for wild animals

Lynnwood’s Progressive Animal Welfare Society will soon move animals to its state of the art, 25-acre facility.

Traffic builds up at the intersection of 152nd St NE and 51st Ave S on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to weigh in on how Marysville will look in 20 years

Marysville is updating its comprehensive plan and wants the public to weigh in on road project priorities.

Mountlake Terrace Mayor Kyko Matsumoto-Wright on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
With light rail coming soon, Mountlake Terrace’s moment is nearly here

The anticipated arrival of the northern Link expansion is another sign of a rapidly changing city.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
1 dead in motorcycle crash on Highway 522 in Maltby

Authorities didn’t have any immediate details about the crash that fully blocked the highway Friday afternoon.

Photographs in the 2024 Annual Black and White Photography Contest on display at the Schack Art Center on Thursday, April 18, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Black and white photos aren’t old school for teens at Schack Art Center

The photography contest, in its 29th year, had over 170 entries. See it at the Schack in Everett through May 5.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett mom charged with first-degree murder in death of son, 4

On Friday, prosecutors charged Janet Garcia, 27, three weeks after Ariel Garcia went missing from an Everett apartment.

Dr. Mary Templeton (Photo provided by Lake Stevens School District)
Lake Stevens selects new school superintendent

Mary Templeton, who holds the top job in the Washougal School District, will take over from Ken Collins this summer.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.