Unionized Starbucks employees at a Sherwood Park, Alta. location have successfully negotiated their first-ever collective agreement.
Workers at the Beaverbrook Plaza coffee shop recently voted to accept the new three-year contract, according to a news release from the United Steelworkers (USW) union. The agreement covering around 25 employees was ratified Tuesday.
It's the second of its kind negotiated by the USW in Alberta and the third in Canada, following in the footsteps of a collective agreement at the Calgary Millrise Centre Starbucks this summer.
"It's good news and it shows that the process works," Scott Lunny, western Canadian director for USW, said in an interview Wednesday.
"It's a slow process, it's a legalistic process, sometimes, to organize in Alberta. It's not very favourable to workers easily joining a union but it is possible."
Lunny said USW hopes to see more locations unionize and achieve collective agreements.
Last year saw a flurry of unionization activity at Starbucks across Canada and the United States. A second Sherwood Park Starbucks on Sherwood Drive also voted to join the USW but has yet to negotiate a collective agreement.
Previous unionization efforts
Meanwhile, a unionization effort at five Lethbridge, Alta. locations was unsuccessful after a tied vote by workers.
USW also represents Starbucks workers at stores in Edmonton as well as in B.C. and Ontario. Vancouver's only unionized Starbucks was set to close at the end of September after its lease expired.
The USW release said the collective agreement at Beaverbrook Plaza includes improved working conditions, better job security and mechanisms for resolving disputes. Workers will also receive wage increases of five per cent on ratification and another five per cent increase over the following two years.
"It's not perfect, but it's the first agreement and we'll build on that," Lunny said. "And in a couple years, we'll be bargaining again for the Beaverbrook store."
A statement posted online from Starbucks Canada says the agreement was able to be reached as "the result of respectful and constructive in-person conversations at the bargaining table."
"Starbucks has always been committed to bargaining in good faith," read the statement.
"We agree that partners at each of our union-represented stores deserve to see progress towards first contracts. That's why Starbucks is committed to progress negotiations towards a first contract where union representatives have approached contract bargaining with professionalism and have allowed both parties to discuss proposals."