HONOLULU (KHON2) — Employees at a Starbucks in Mililani narrowly lost the vote to unionize in early May.
The Mililani location is just one of hundreds nationwide that have filed petitions to organize. Their union effort began in January of 2022. 

Alicia McKinley works at the Starbucks as a barista and said she was upset when the vote to unionize did not go her way.

Download the free KHON2 app for iOS or Android to stay informed on the latest news

“We went through a lot of unfortunate events that pushed us, not only did it bond us together but it kind of pushed us together in the direction to go to management to see if they can help us get what we need.”

Seattle-based Starbucks has said they respect the rights of its employees to organize, but that they believe the company is better together without a union.

McKinley said while working at the Mililani location she and other employees noticed hours were being cut making other employees forced to pick up the slack, enforcement wasn’t strictly regulated and other problems that began to build up.

“We went public on February 11 and at the time it was normal routine in our store,” said McKinley. “However, shortly after we noticed management stepping up having more of a presence in store.”

McKinley said if the vote would have gone the other way, they would have been the first Starbucks to unionize in the state of Hawaii. 

According to the National Labor Relations Board the vote was 8-7 in favor of not unionizing. However, McKinley said despite the vote not going their way she still has plans up her sleeve. 

“As of right now we are planning to appeal this last vote,” said McKinley. 

She said unionizing the Mililani store is something she is passionate about and wants to be a part of the first unionized location in Hawaii. 

Get more coronavirus news: COVID vaccines, boosters and Safe Travels information

“The support we are getting from the community is nice,” said McKinley. “This is a passion project of mine and I really love working for Starbucks. I am hopeful change will come soon.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.