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Starbucks workers in Butte announce plans to unionize

Retail and service workers — like those working at the Starbucks on Harrison Avenue in Butte — feel their work is undervalued by the corporation.

BUTTE — With the ever-increasing high cost of living, retail and service workers — like those working at the https://montanabrewingcompany.com/ Starbucks on Harrison Avenue in Butte — feel their work is undervalued by the corporation.

"If a company truly cares about their workers, the best and first thing they can do to take care of them is pay them a living wage," said Cody Reichard, a supervisor at Starbucks.

Reichard says retail and service workers like them are treated like they don’t matter in big business.

"At some point, we decided as a society that they don’t and that they don’t deserve a living wage. I think that’s the biggest point that we would like to change and address with this campaign," said Reichard.The four young adults leading this movement witnessed other Starbucks locations in different states begin to unionize and began planning to create better conditions for themselves and co-workers.

"If you are a working contributing member of society, the company you work for should care enough about you to make sure that you’re not drowning," said Shayna Baker, a barista at Starbucks.

Reichard says it has been months in the making and is inspired by Butte’s union history to take action.

Known as the “Gibraltar of Unionism,” Butte’s first organized union was formed in 1878 as the Butte Workingman’s Union, later renamed the Butte Miner’s Union. Smaller labor unions followed in its footsteps to protest wage cuts and demand better wages.

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