Skip to content


Get Out The Popcorn, Starbucks’ Howard Schultz Called Before Senate

Starbucks projects the image of an employee-friendly company, but its workers have been exposing the contradiction between the company’s words and its actions. On March 29, they’ll get some help from the U.S. Senate’s HELP Committee, chaired by Bernie Sanders. The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has called Howard Schultz, who recently resigned as Starbucks CEO, to testify before Congress about the company’s union-busting. Schultz is likely to be asked to explain why the company has not negotiated a contract with its union, even though the first store unionized in Buffalo in December 2021. Nearly 300 stores have now unionized with Starbucks Workers United.

Where The Starbucks Union Stands After Rallies, Proposed Audit

Four security guards blocked the entrance to Starbucks headquarters as demonstrators approached Wednesday. Workers peeked out of windows above, watching and filming the crowd. Some ventured out to order lunch from the food trucks in the parking lot and take a closer look. Gwen Williamson, a former shift supervisor for a cafe in Bellingham, addressed the crowd: “We won our election in December and immediately after that, shift supervisor hours were cut, putting our eligibility for Starbucks health education benefits at risk.” Williamson told those who had gathered that she had been unjustly terminated after she led the union charge at her store and called off several shifts at the last minute due to flood damage that left her apartment unlivable.

Starbucks Workers Walk Out Ahead Of Shareholder Meeting

Starbucks workers at over 100 US stores walk out ahead of shareholder meeting Workers hold protest in Seattle outside of Starbucks’ headquarters in response to the company’s aggressive anti-union efforts Michael Sainato @msainat1 Wed 22 Mar 2023 10.27 EDT Starbucks workers at over 100 stores around the US walked out on Wednesday ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting and held a protest in Seattle outside Starbucks’ headquarters. The actions were launched in response to Starbucks’ aggressive anti-union efforts against worker organizing, which have included allegations of firing dozens of workers in retaliation for union organizing, intimidation, store closures, withholding benefits, schedule cuts and delays in bargaining a first union contract. Starbucks has denied or rejected all allegations and charges of labor law violations.

NLRB Punches Holes In No-Recording Policies

Anderson, South Carolina - A February 13, 2023 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) clarifies whether employees can be disciplined for recording conversations with management officials. The ruling (372 NLRB No. 50) involved two Starbucks stores in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and members of a rank-and-file group called Baristas United. Two leaders of the group were fired for ostensibly violating established store policy by secretly recording conversations with supervisors on their cell phones. During the conversations, the employees were illegally warned about making negative statements about Starbucks.

How To Get Un-Fired

New York City, New York - In a few days Austin Locke will walk back into the Queens, New York, Starbucks store he was fired from seven months ago. He’ll also get a wad of back pay, and money from civil penalties. Locke had a target on his back because he was involved in a union drive at the store, but his reinstatement didn’t come from the National Labor Relations Board. Instead, his case was taken up by the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), under a city law passed in 2021 which makes unjust firings in fast food illegal. Two recent city laws protecting fast food workers, the 2017 Fair Workweek Law and the 2021 Just Cause law, have resulted in 230 investigations, resulting in nearly $27.1 million in combined fines and restitution for more than 20,100 workers, according to Michael Lanza of the DCWP.

Baristas Form First Unionized Peet’s Coffee In United States

In a win for workplace democracy, employees at a Peet's Coffee & Tea located in Davis, California formed the chain's first unionized shop in the United States on Friday. Workers at the café voted 14-1 to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021. "We will not be the last," tweeted Peet's Workers United (PWU), which organized the winning unionization campaign. PWU is the counterpart to Starbucks Workers United (SBWU), the outfit behind dozens of successful union drives nationwide. "Solidarity, from coffee shop to coffee shop," SBWU wrote on social media ahead of Friday's vote at Peet's. After PWU won, their Starbucks allies gave them a warm "welcome to the labor movement." SBWU organizer Tyler Keeling from Lakewood, California played an instrumental role in PWU's efforts, as detailed last week in Jacobin. PWU expressed gratitude to Keeling before and after the union vote.

Starbucks Workers Head Into Their Biggest Strike Ever

The year of the strike is ending with a bang. Starbucks Workers United has announced that workers at over 100 stores in the U.S. are embarking on a three-day strike starting today and ending December 18. The “Double Down Strike” will affect Starbucks locations in multiple states, including the flagship Seattle Roastery, which is where Starbucks CEO and noted union antagonist Howard Schultz regularly gets his coffee. In a statement to Eater, Starbucks Workers United says “the ‘Double Down Strike’, a nationwide unfair labor practice (ULP) strike, is the longest collective action in the campaign’s history and is the latest escalation against Starbucks’ ruthless campaign of anti-union bullying.” This comes after a recent action on November 17, where over 1,000 Starbucks workers at more than 100 stores went on strike on Red Cup Day, Starbucks’s money-making “holiday” where it gives away collectible holiday cups.

Starbucks Union Workers Have A Holiday Wish

Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) has a birthday on Friday, and is holding ten rallies across the country to celebrate with the help of its parent union, Workers United. Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the winning election at the Elmwood Starbucks store in Buffalo, N.Y. on December 9, 2021, the first of the chain’s company-run locations to unionize in the country since the 1980s. The election win at Elmwood triggered a nationwide union upsurge at Starbucks. As part of the day of action, SBWU baristas are asking supporters to refrain from buying Starbucks gift cards this holiday season and show up to work stoppages and demonstrations instead. Like many gift recipients, they’ll accept cash too. “It’s a celebration of the fact that it’s been a year, and we’ve managed to unionize more than 260 stores,” barista and barista trainer CJ Toothman says of the December 9 anniversary events.

Starbucks Workers’ First National Strike

On Thursday morning, thousands of Starbucks workers across the country rose at the crack of dawn — some braving bitter cold — to set up picket lines outside their stores. Over 100 Starbucks locations participated in what workers were calling the “Red Cup Rebellion” — a nationwide walkout planned by Starbucks Workers United (SBWU), the union that represents nearly 7,000 Starbucks workers across the United States. Workers who spoke to In These Times said they hoped the day of action would finally convince Starbucks to negotiate in good faith instead of doubling down on retaliation, intimidation and union busting. The strike was strategically timed. Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day is a late fall tradition where customers can get certain beverages in reusable, limited-edition holiday cups.

‘Red Cup Rebellion’: Workers At 100+ Starbucks Locations Strike

Thousands of unionized Starbucks workers at more than 100 locations across the United States are walking off the job Thursday to protest the coffee giant's refusal to engage in good-faith negotiations with stores that have voted to organize. Workers United, the union representing thousands of Starbucks employees, dubbed the nationwide day of action the "Red Cup Rebellion," a pro-labor counter to Starbucks' annual "Red Cup Day." As Starbucks gives away free reusable cups to customers to mark the holiday season, striking employees nationwide are handing out Starbucks Workers United-branded cups to build public awareness of the union drive and spotlight the company's aggressive and unlawful efforts to crush it.

Starbucks Workers At The Roastery Strike Against Unsafe Work Conditions

New York City, New York - Workers at the New York City Starbucks Reserve Roastery in the Meatpacking District have been on strike since the beginning of last week against unsafe work conditions and the multi-billion dollar corporation’s refusal to bargain in good faith with the union for a first contract. The striking workers note how managers at one of Starbucks’s flagship stores refuse to address work conditions that are proving to be health hazards: the store had a recent outbreak of bedbugs in the break room and there has been black mold in the ice machines for months. Two workers who spoke with Left Voice under conditions of anonymity described how management instructed them to discard any ice with mold in it and carry on, without addressing the root of the problem.

Black Mold, Bed Bugs And Anti-Union Tactics

Manhattan, New York - On Tuesday morning, 10 workers at Starbucks’ upscale Reserve Roastery in Manhattan, New York walked off the job, alleging unsanitary work conditions including bed bugs and black mold, as well as union busting by management. “Nobody wants to be in a building where management is lying to us, keeping us in the dark, where we clearly have a big bed bug infestation. Nobody wanted to be there,” says 27-year-old Nicole DeRose, an employee at the store who was on shift when the strike began. Starbucks Media Relations said in an email to In These Times that it became aware of a “potential pest issue” on Monday and called a pest control service that found no evidence of an infestation and “gave…the all-clear to re-open on Tuesday.”

Starbucks Has A Pin Problem

A growing number of Starbucks baristas are wearing a suicide awareness pin at work — an act of defiance and solidarity after a union leader in Buffalo, N.Y., says he was fired for wearing it. Baristas at cafes in Oklahoma, Washington, Arizona, Vermont, Kansas, New Jersey and Tennessee have been wearing the pin, according to Starbucks Workers United (SBWU). The subtle protest comes as the coffee giant continues its relentless onslaught of union busting against SBWU, which has successfully unionized some 250 cafes since December 2021. Meanwhile, the union says workers have reported more than 120 “retaliatory firings.” In a news release, SBWU says it has filed more than “80 charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of fired workers.”

Hundreds Protest As Starbucks Holds Investor Day Without Retail Workers

Seattle, Washington - Hundreds of workers took to the streets in front of Starbucks’s Seattle headquarters on Tuesday as the company hosted investors for its biennial investor day, in which executives and investors discuss the company’s outlook — an event that has never once included representation from a Starbucks retail worker, the workers’ union says. Joined by other union members, workers with Starbucks Workers United are demanding that the company give them a say in its strategy and financial decisions and a place at the bargaining table for contract negotiations, which the company has been delaying. They are also asking the company to stop union-busting practices like firing pro-union employees, which it has done almost 100 times over the course of the union drive, Starbucks Workers United says.

Starbucks Worker Militancy Forces Legal Victories

Recently, Starbucks workers achieved some significant wins in the form of National Labor Relations Board complaints and judgments against the company. Workers are waiting to see if these will materialize into meaningful changes in what is now a year-long, union-busting campaign waged by the company. The NLRB filed a complaint Aug. 24 over Starbucks’ illegal withholding of pay raises and other benefits from workers who were unionized or in the process of organizing.  Since the beginning of the union drive, Starbucks has been announcing a number of perks for workers who decide not to unionize, including a pay raise which took effect Aug. 1.
Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.