July 14, 2024


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Oakland Starbucks workers join the union fight

Oakland Starbucks workers join the union fight

althoug say critics and analysts That a drive to unionize the giant chain Starbucks has slowed in recent months, workers at the cafe’s ubiquitous Oakland location seek to disrupt that narrative. According to a statement from the staff of The Estuary Cove Starbucksand staff petition With the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Monday evening announcing their intention to join Starbucks workers unite! (SWU), the New York-based union that has organized more than 300 outposts for the company to date.

The impetus to organize Starbucks stores is relatively recent. In December 2021, a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, voted to unionize, the first such agreement at Starbucks since workers in some Seattle stores joined the United Food and Trade Workers union in the 1980s. This generation, the Starbucks labor union, moved quickly after that first vote, and by early 2023, there were 358 Starbucks locations across the country that had joined its efforts.

In the East Bay, the unions moved slower. last august, Starbucks at 2224 Shattuck Ave. At Berkeley he joined SWUHowever, this is the extent of the effort exerted in the region so far. According to workers who I spoke with the Associated Press In January, there are a number of reasons why unionization at the once-booming Starbucks has slowed: for example, the company Close union stores For what management say are “safety” reasons, while organizers say the closures are veiled acts of retaliation against the unions.

In another case, pro-union workers at Starbucks’ Memphis, Tennessee, were fired last year over alleged violations of company policy, but the NLRB – which oversees union activities in the US – claimed the act was retaliation. A federal judge agreed Allegations of revenge have enough merit to Starbucks require to reinstate workers during the investigation of the case; And earlier this month, an NLRB judge He said it was Starbucks She engaged in “egregious and widespread misconduct” when she fired workers at other stores with union efforts.

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Starbucks has a longstanding opposition to unionization, with soon-to-be-out Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz saying repeatedly that organization is unnecessary. in Interview from Feb“I don’t think syndication has a place at Starbucks,” Schultz said.

“Petition to join a union, they have the right to do so,” Schultz said. “But we as a company also have the right to say, we have a different, better vision.”

According to the statement sent by Starbucks workers at 1211 E. Embarcadero Cove, the Oakland workers’ vision includes joining the “fight against interrupted Starbucks hours, inadequate staffing, disregard for partner safety, and refusal to bargain with the union in good faith.”

However, there are no specific allegations regarding such issues in the statement about the site they work on, which he was working on Since at least 2006. Instead, a Starbucks worker was identified as “Nick R.” It is quoted in the statement as saying that “Starbucks loves to talk about the progressive values ​​it holds… Unfortunately, those values ​​are not always lived up to, especially when it comes to supporting its partners.” Nosh connect with “Nick R.” Via contact information provided in the statement, but not responded to at the time of publication.

The petition to the NLRB is just the first step toward a potential union for the Oakland Starbucks store. Then, workers will hold a formal vote to unionize, which is by no means certain: As of January, union votes have failed at more than 60 Starbucks across the country, with some workers saying they fear the union will lead to fewer benefits, No more.

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According to comments attributed to “Nick R.” However, in the Oakland workers’ statement, the local effort raises no such concerns. “I’m voting to unionize,” he said, “because it’s a way for our partners to hold Starbucks accountable.”