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Scottsdale Starbucks workers who want to unionize say their hours have been cut

Starbucks employees at the Scottsdale Road and Mayo Boulevard location hosted a rally Saturday afternoon to raise awareness of their attempt to unionize.

They say the efforts have been met by opposition from management, including intimidation and cutting hours for involved employees.

The location joins over 100 Starbucks across the country that have filed petitions for union elections, including a successful election at a store in Mesa.

Callie Daly is a barista at the Scottsdale and Mayo location. She said she was working 28 hours a week steadily before she joined the union effort.

“In order to keep my college benefits through Starbucks, for ASU, I have to maintain at least 20 hours a week, and that’s recently been cut to 16 or lower, and I had to really fight to get back to that 20 baseline,” said Daly.

Scottsdale and Mayo Starbucks employee Laila Dalton was named in a formal complaint against Starbucks from the National Labor Relations Board. She says she has received more discipline from management since starting the unionization process.

“They have put us through so many obstacles, trying to give me so many write-ups, trying to cut so many people's hours from working 20 hours to just 10 to five hours a week,” said Dalton.

Dalton says the successful election in Mesa, as well as unionization attempts across the country, helped spur and continue the process in their store.

A Starbucks spokesperson called claims of anti-union activity “categorically false” and said employees are held to the same standards regardless of union affiliation.

Scottsdale barista Bill Whitmire says the union effort stems from frustration with upper management, specifically communication problems.

“We don't feel like corporate listens to us at all, that's why we started the union, because we didn't feel listened to. We tried a number of times to talk to management about our concerns, from the management level all the way to the district management level. And promises were made. But they were never followed up on,” said Whitmire.

Ben Minkler works at a Starbucks in Deer Valley, but attended the rally in support of the workers at the Scottsdale location. He cited similar communication issues at his location, which is also undergoing a union petition.

“Our store, we've been asking for renovations for years at this point, and they keep saying, ‘It's on the way, it's on the way.’ At the moment, I feel like we're not being heard. And so I feel like this is the goal right now, is to really try and get our voices out there,” said Minkler.

Whitmire says the store’s union election is expected to take place in mid-April, and if successful, the store would be the second corporately-owned Starbucks in Arizona to unionize.

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Vaughan Jones is the weekend reporter for KJZZ, and a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism, with a minor in music. As a Phoenix native, Jones’s dream is to serve his community by covering important stories in the metropolitan area.He spent two years as music director at Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. His passion for radio stems from joining Blaze his freshman year as a DJ.When he is not working, Jones can be found writing music with his band, playing video games with his friends, or watching his favorite Phoenix-area sports teams.