Above Photo: Starbucks workers and community members picket outside the first union store in Buffalo, NY., July 26, 2023. WBEN.
Buffalo, New York – As part of the Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) Bus Tour, Starbucks workers and volunteers in Buffalo, New York, demonstrated the power of the Starbucks unionization campaign in the face of corporate resistance.
To bolster their efforts, dozens of Starbucks workers traveled to Buffalo on July 26, to spread information concerning the company’s egregious union busting and breaking of labor laws. The Bus Tour displayed working-class power in a united front for fair compensation and protection from Starbucks’ actions.
Informational pickets were dispersed around Buffalo. Customers and passersby were asked if they had previously heard of Starbucks’ union busting and were given information on Starbucks’ unofficial policy toward union workers.
The picket was followed by a press conference at the Elmwood Village Starbucks location, with some of the speakers being fired workers and the original organizers of that store. Speakers made note of the fact that, although it has been over 500 days since the first Starbucks store voted to unionize, there has yet to be one contract negotiated.
December 9, 2021, marked a huge victory for Starbucks workers and unions all across the country when the Elmwood store voted to unionize — the first location to do so. Over 300 Starbucks locations followed suit. Though the push for unions quickly garnered public support, SBWU experienced a great deal of corporate pushback.
In a vigorous and illegal union-busting campaign, the company has fired union supporters, cut hours of unionized workers, threatened to withhold gender-affirming care, and even gone as far as to temporarily close down unionized locations. According to the National Labor Relations Board, “Starbucks had violated the National Labor Relations Act hundreds of times to affect workers’ organizing efforts.”
A genuine desire for decent compensation and security will invariably be opposed by corporation owners and those of the ruling strata. Members of the working class must join together and support this strong drive by organized labor.