Starbucks Workers Across 14 States File for Union Elections


On Tuesday, February 20, 2024, more than 400 employees at 21 Starbucks stores in 14 states announced that they were seeking to join the Starbucks Workers United Union. This is the largest single-day union drive in the company’s history, according to the union.


Why do Starbucks workers want to unionize?

The workers, who are called “partners” by the company, said in a letter to Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan that they have decided to follow in the footsteps of over 396 other stores and nearly 10,000 partners who have successfully unionized since December 2021. They cited low pay, inconsistent scheduling, and safety concerns as some of the reasons for their decision.

“Starbucks has made a habit of prioritizing sales and profits over partner safety,” the letter said. “We have worked through violent threats from customers, unsafe weather conditions, and a global pandemic. Despite our willingness to work regardless of this disregard for our health and safety, we have been met with higher and higher expectations without being given the resources to meet them.”

The workers also demanded a say in the decisions that affect their day-to-day work, better communication with all partners, fair and consistent scheduling, improved benefits, and manageable expectations.

“Partners are not merely your workers but human beings who have the right to pursue happiness outside of our work,” the letter said.

How has Starbucks responded to the Union Drive?

A Starbucks spokesperson said that the company respects its workers’ right to unionize and encourages them to make an informed choice and vote in neutral, secret-ballot elections. The spokesperson also said that the company offers competitive pay and benefits, as well as opportunities for career growth and development.

However, the union accused Starbucks of engaging in union-busting tactics, such as hiring anti-union consultants, holding mandatory meetings, and spreading misinformation and fear among workers. The union also said that Starbucks has violated labor laws by retaliating against pro-union workers, interfering with their organizing efforts, and discriminating against them.

The National Labor Relations Board, which oversees union elections, has issued several complaints and rulings against Starbucks for its unlawful conduct. The union said that it will continue to fight for its rights and hold Starbucks accountable for its actions.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Starbucks and the Labor Movement?

The union drive at Starbucks is part of a larger wave of labor organizing that has swept across the U.S. in recent years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership grew by nearly 200,000 in 2023, reaching 11.1% of the workforce. From Amazon to Uber, from healthcare to hospitality, workers in various industries and sectors have formed or joined unions to demand better working conditions and a voice on the job.

The unionization of Starbucks, which is one of the largest and most influential employers in the country, could have a significant impact on the future of the coffee industry and the service sector. It could also inspire more workers to organize and challenge the power and practices of corporate giants.

The union said that it is not only fighting for itself but for all workers who deserve respect and dignity. “We are the face of Starbucks,” the letter said. “As employees, we deserve the same respect and dignity as the CEO.”

By Andrea Wilson

Andrea Wilson is a talented junior content and news writer at Scope Sweep. With a passion for writing and a dedication to delivering high-quality content, Andrea has quickly established herself as a valuable contributor to the team. Graduating from the prestigious University of Sydney, she brings a strong academic foundation and a keen eye for detail to her work. Andrea's articles cover a wide range of topics, from breaking news to informative features, ensuring that readers are well-informed and engaged. With her ability to research and present information in a clear and concise manner, Andrea Wilson is committed to providing readers with accurate and captivating content. Stay connected and up-to-date with Andrea's compelling articles on Scope Sweep

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