The Starbucks at 711 Lake St. in Oak Park will officially become a union coffeeshop. Workers in favor of unionizing won the store’s union election April 11 in a 12-1 landslide, following days of organized protests against the coffee chain by the community and supporters. 

“It honestly feels like my firing was not in vain,” said Amanda Carelli, the store’s lead organizer whose employment with Starbucks was recently terminated. 

Carelli has been as involved as she can be since she was let go but was not able to vote due to her termination. She was, however, at the Starbucks while the votes were counted out of support for the cause and her former co-workers. Winning the election, she said, almost brought her to tears she was so happy. 

“It took me a lot not to cry,” said Carelli.

The now-unionized workers will soon engage in collective bargaining with Starbucks corporate, but before that starts, the parties have until April 18 to file objections to the election with the National Labor Relations Board. If none are filed, the NLRB will certify the results of the election and bargaining can begin.

Once the results have been certified, a union representative will sit down with the store’s district manager to negotiate. Some of the workers from that Starbucks will also be involved in the discussions, serving as union stewards. Starbucks Workers United is affiliated with the Workers United labor union. 

“We respect the outcome of any fairly conducted and certified elections and I look forward to engaging with the Workers United representative identified to begin the good faith collective bargaining process for that store,” said Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trull.

Carelli is trying to get her job at Starbucks reinstated. She told Wednesday Journal she has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Starbucks. She believes she will be able to successfully return to Starbucks as an employee, but it could take as long as six months until she is able to put her green apron back on. 

In the meantime, she is grateful for everyone who showed up to carry their banner while the workers unionized.

“Thank you to the community for the support and the protests and everything,” Carelli said. “It’s meant a lot to my team.”

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