Starbucks workers in Jackson, Miss., are the first in the state to unionize. The workers voted unanimously, 12-0 to join the union, Workers United announced on June 18.

“As someone with a burning, fervent passion to rally for the betterment of our future prospects for the average working-class American, it is with great enthusiasm that I announce that our humble cafe Starbucks has won our election to form a labor union,” Madeline McDaniel, a two-year Starbucks employee, said in a press release on Tuesday.

“Not only does this mean that we can comfortably look forward to stability and security, but we can do so while choosing to create and progress our careers within the Starbucks company,” McDaniel continued. “My partners are my number one priority, and being able to be a part of this movement means nothing short of the world to me.”

The workers petitioned the National Labor Relations Board earlier this month to join the union.

In a joint letter to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan on June 4, 2024, they—along with employees from several other organizing stores across the country—listed their demands.

“Though we work at different stores, we are united through our shared experiences and in our demand for higher wages, fair and consistent scheduling, improved benefits, and a safe and dignified workplace,” the letter says.

“We believe that forming a union is necessary to address these concerns and improve the working conditions of all Starbucks employees,” the letter continues. “As the face of Starbucks, we are dedicated to providing exceptional service to our customers, but we also deserve fair compensation, job security, and a voice in decisions that affect us.”

In 2021, Starbucks employees in Buffalo, N.Y., were the first to unionize, sparking a movement across the country. Since then, more than 450 stores employing over 10,000 workers nationwide have unionized.

Capital City reporter Shaunicy Muhammad has an enduring interest in social-justice issues, class inequality, Africana studies and cultural storytelling.

Her educational background includes a journalism degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. Her time as an undergraduate student culminated with the production of the senior research project “Black Unrest, Riots and How Newspapers Frame the Narrative of African American Social Protest,” which analyzed patterns in the narratives reporters used when explaining the social unrest and uprisings after the deaths of Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

She is reporting on the capital city with a year-long focus on causes, effects and solutions for systemic inequities in South Jackson, supported by a grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Email her at [email protected].