How a group of Starbucks employees won the union struggle


Yves came. It’s worth noting that Starbucks’s position is that even in a few cafes, the work of union organization is carried out on a shop by shop basis. From CNN:

A union vote held in a store in Buffalo, New York won by a 19-8 advantage. The result of the second store’s vote was 12 votes against and 8 votes for the union, but the number of votes for each store was considered separately, so the workers in the second store would have no union representatives, while the workers in the first store would have .

As of Thursday afternoon, the vote for the third Buffalo store is inconclusive. The union voted 15-9 in the shop, but the other seven ballots were questioned and therefore not counted. Six of the challenges were raised by the union, which believed that these workers were working in other Starbucks stores. These challenges need to be resolved before the voting results are determined later.

Starbucks played down the importance of its losses, calling the votes of these three stores a “split decision.” But the efforts of organizing Starbucks employees are closely monitored nationwide. The company has made great efforts to convince employees that they will live better without a union, but at least in the case of one of its stores, it failed to do so.

Author: Sonali Kolhatkar, founder, host and executive producer “Rise with Sonali,” TV and radio programs broadcast on Free Speech TV and Pacifica radio stations, as well as for National economy The project of the Independent Media Institute. Depend on. . .Production National economy

The iconic American coffee chain Starbucks has nearly 9,000 cafes nationwide and hundreds of thousands of employees.However, it is reported that a small number of Starbucks employees are A cafe In Buffalo, New York, recently voted to join Workers’ Federation-SEIU’s affiliates-made national headlines. The New York Times called it “A major symbolic victory for labor,” and the Washington Post called it “Watershed union vote. “Social media is full of Joyous post Celebrate voting. Located on Elmwood Avenue, this cafe is the only one of the Starbucks stores voted by the three unions in Buffalo to successfully join the union.

“it Yes important,” Cedric De Leon says The Starbucks union voted. De Leon is the director of the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is an associate professor of sociology at the school. He is the author of several books on the U.S. Labor Organization. “Employers know that workers know the beachheads of one of the largest companies.” , And truly becoming an iconic brand in the American hotel market is a major achievement.”

Before voting, Starbucks tried Postpone vote Even the cafes in Buffalo were crowded with new employees, trying to dilute the “yes” votes.it Fly into an external manager Pay close attention to workers who are seen as shameless intimidation.The company has long Revolt The union event brought its former chief executive Howard Schultz to Buffalo to prevent workers from joining the union and even closed its cafe during his Saturday visit so that they could participate in speeches that were essentially captive audiences.

Given that Starbucks will spare no effort to prevent a few stores from joining the union, it is not surprising that a cafe joined the union only 50 years after its establishment. No wonder commentators were shocked by this potentially groundbreaking event.

According to reports, Schultz, who is still the largest shareholder of Starbucks, mentioned in his speech that the company’s health insurance benefits and tuition assistance are reasons why it is not necessary to establish a union.Schultz believes he knows what is best for workers Written in his first memoir, “I firmly believe that under my leadership, employees will realize that I will listen to their concerns. If they believe in me and my motives, they don’t need a union.”

However, there is evidence that Starbucks employees can indeed use the collective bargaining power granted by the union.One learn Author: Unite Here Thousands of Starbucks employees working at the airport discovered that black workers earn $1.85 less per hour than white workers. Nearly one-fifth of the workers reported that they did not have enough money to buy food.

And in 2020, in the national racial justice uprising, Starbucks Policy posted Workers are prohibited from wearing pins or clothes to support Black Lives Matter.company Back After an uproar.

Like Amazon and Walmart, Starbucks often retaliates against workers who seek to organize unions.Starbucks Barista Gabriel Ocasio Meguias In Orlando, Florida, he was fired after trying to persuade his colleagues to join Unite Here.

Due to the sharp increase in online food delivery orders, the pandemic is particularly serious for workers.A New York duty supervisor who did not want to be named told protector“They want us to be just these fast-moving robots. We are just small drones for them. They only need to draw out as many lattes as possible within half an hour.”

When asked to respond to the shift supervisor’s complaint, a Starbucks spokesperson responded with a statement that could only be written by a public relations expert. The spokesperson said: “Our 200,000 partners in the United States are the best in the industry, and their experience is the key to helping us make Starbucks a meaningful and inspiring workplace.” “We work for all part-time and full-time Partners provide world-class welfare programs and continue to support partners to take care of themselves and their families during Covid-19. We continue to maintain industry-leading retention rates.”

Indeed, the company refers to its employees as “partner“It seems that using a powerful-sounding term is enough to conceal the lack of strength of workers. But the use of this term has a drawback, because workers are challenging Starbucks to live up to the meaning of “partner”.

Michelle Eisen, one of the Buffalo Starbucks employees who voted to join the union, said in a statement statement“This victory is the first step to change what it means to be a Starbucks partner and what it means to work in the wider service industry.” She added: “With the union, we now have the ability to negotiate a contract for Starbucks Take on the responsibility of being the company we know, and let us have a real voice in the workplace.” It is this ability that Starbucks and Schultz are afraid of.

“When the workers thought that this big boss who looked like a giant a year ago might be defeated, when they see this, they start to organize,” De Leon said.There are already two Starbucks stores BostonSeeing the success of the Buffalo Cafe, sign up for the union election. These employees once again challenged Starbucks to live up to the term “partner” and issued a statement saying, “We believe that without power sharing and accountability, there can be no true partnership.”

Workers at a store in Mesa, Arizona were also encouraged by Buffalo’s victory and filed a petition for union elections.A worker told Arizona Republic, “Our eyes are on Buffalo.”

More and more workers seem to see through the anti-union propaganda of employers.Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges Say Regarding Mesa’s pro-union activities, “We shouldn’t have a third party between us when we work together to develop the best experience our partners can have.” However, the Buffalo Starbucks employee, who is the liaison of the Mesa Workers’ Union, retorted : “Our union will be composed of the baristas and shift supervisors who make up Starbucks. That’s not a third party.”

As a worker in a Buffalo store, the public seems to be increasingly supportive of the union’s efforts Report More and more people came to the cafe, excited about the news of the union vote, and tipped more generously than usual.One Gallup Poll In September, it was found that the public has the highest support for trade unions since 1965, with 68% of respondents supporting the right to collective bargaining. De Leon said: “Many successful organizational activities have been supported by the community.”

The eyes of the union supporters among us should now be on Starbucks’ management, because the question remains whether the company will negotiate contracts in good faith.Terri Gerstein wrote U.S. prospects It warned that “even in Buffalo, the battle is far from over” and “even after the election, employers have many ways to try to destroy unions.” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (Bernie Sanders) Announce his solidarity With Buffalo workers, Require After the news of the vote came out, “the company should stop investing a lot of money in the union and negotiate a fair contract now.”





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