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11 Aug 2022

Michael Sainato, The Guardian

USA: Starbucks workers hold over 50 strikes in at least 17 states over the companies allegedly 'aggressive' union busting attempts

Barista at Starbucks

"Starbucks workers hold strikes in at least 17 states amid union drive", 11 August 2022

Workers at Starbucks have held over 55 different strikes in at least 17 states in the US in recent months over the company’s aggressive opposition to a wave of unionization.

According to an estimate by Starbucks Workers United, the strikes have cost Starbucks over $375,000 in lost revenue. The union created a $1m strike fund in June 2022 to support Starbucks workers through their strikes and several relief funds have been established for strikes and to support workers who have lost their jobs.

Starbucks employees have alleged over 75 workers have been fired in retaliation for union organizing this year, and hundreds of allegations of misconduct by Starbucks related to the union campaign are currently under review at the National Labor Relations Board, including claims of shutting down stores to bust unions, firing workers and intimidating and threatening workers from unionizing. Starbucks has denied all allegations.

More than 200 Starbucks stores around the US have won their union votes, with dozens of stores currently waiting for their election votes...

Amid the wave of union elections at Starbucks, the company has rolled out new wage increases and benefits corporate wide, but has withheld the new pay increases and benefits from unionized workers despite the calls from these workers to enact these changes for them as they push for the company to negotiate a first contract with the unionized stores...

A spokesperson for Starbucks said in an email: “We currently have strikes happening outside store locations in specific locations in the US. Starbucks has great partners and we value their contributions. We respect our partners’ right to engage in any legally protected activity or protest without retaliation.”

They added: “Once a store unionizes, no changes to benefits are legally allowed to be made without good faith collective bargaining. Partners still have access to all Starbucks benefits already in place when the petition was filed, but any changes to wages, benefits and working conditions that Starbucks establishes after that time would not apply to and would have to be reviewed in bargaining.”