BOONE, N.C. — Grace Marvell has been a barista at a Starbucks since high school. She now works at the Starbucks in Boone while attending Appalachian State University. 

What You Need To Know

  • A Starbucks in Boone is the first in North Carolina to unionize

  • Workers voted 33-2 to form a union

  • A Starbucks worker says she was inspired by efforts to organize a union at the coffee chain in Buffalo, N.Y.

"I really like talking to people. It's enjoyable to talk to complete strangers and have the opportunity to make their day," Marvell said.

Marvell, a biology major, says after Starbucks workers formed a union in Buffalo, N.Y., she began to watch the cause.

"For me personally, Starbucks is already physically intensive, but I also work in a garden center which is manual labor and also physically intensive, so my body hurts all the time," Marvell said.

Marvell and others in the Boone location worked to unionize, joining Starbucks Workers United, a group that is helping stores with the process. They got a lawyer and sent a petition to the National Labor Relations Board.

"We were like, we can make it a better place," Marvell said.

A Starbucks spokesperson said, "We've been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed."

Starbucks says it will continue to listen and learn from the partners in stores across the country.