‘We deserve better’: Portlanders rally in favor of unions at Amazon, Starbucks

PORTLAND, Ore. — Some groups of Portlanders are calling on Starbucks and Amazon to improve employee rights and wages.

A crowd marched and gathered around the U.S. Bancorp Tower in downtown Portland for International Workers’ Day on Sunday, May 1.

The May Day demonstration included representation from local groups of Starbucks and Amazon employees working to unionize.

“We deserve better,” said Nicole Horn, a worker for Amazon, who said wages are inadequate for those doing the hardest labor. “The bosses will just keep getting richer and we’ll just keep getting poorer.”

The new union Starbucks Workers United hosted the rally in solidarity with Amazon workers.

RELATED: South Eugene Starbucks votes unanimously to unionize, first in Oregon

“Workers are standing up everywhere and it’s important to support them everywhere,” said Quentin Canta of the Starbucks union.

A speaker at the event said Oregon’s first Starbucks union election would take place May 17. The crowd cheered at that announcement.

“It’s a big moment in labor [resurgence] and we’re just working to build on that in Portland,” Canta said.

“The labor movement is being revitalized in this country,” Horn agreed.

Demands for better pay and work-life balance are happening across the board. CNBC reported in March that 44% of employees are looking for different work.

In January, 4.3 million people quit their jobs, joining the record 48 million who quit in 2021. Most left to pursue better pay and treatment elsewhere.

“There’s strength in numbers,” Horn said. “The only way we’re going to get it is if we come together in one voice and demand it.”

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