In a big win for the labor movement, a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York became the first unionized Starbucks store in the U.S. The vote sets a precedent and now nearly 100 stores have either unionized, announced plans to unionize, or filed for a vote.
Workers at Starbucks locations across the country have complained for years about the company’s labor practices, which include the inability to utilize sick time and a chronically chaotic work environment, only made worse by the pandemic. Employees also point to low pay, poor benefits, and unpredictable work schedules as driving factors behind the decision.
Now, despite soaring profits and plans to raise costs, Starbucks is waging a massive anti-union campaign against its workers. To date, the corporation’s attempts have included: closing stores, sending executives in to surveil and discourage unionization, diluting the voting power of pro-union employees by packing the stores with new employees, scheduling pro-union employees at inconsistent hours, recruiting new employees in an attempt to form an ‘anti-union committee’, targeting union leaders for minor infractions, flooding the floor with managers, and hosting anti-union meetings.
The company has recently gone as far as to fire the entire organizing committee at the Memphis location for speaking to the press.
Large corporations have too much power. And the best way to compel corporations to change their behavior is for people to come together and demand it. That’s why organizing a union is so powerful, and why corporations like Starbucks will stop at almost nothing to keep workers from unionizing.
We are calling on Starbucks leadership, including CEO and President Kevin Johnson, to completely halt all union-busting tactics the corporation is deploying to discourage the collective bargaining process.