“We want the company to succeed,” organizers of the Mesa unionization effort said, “and we want our work lives to be the best they can be.”
by Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams
Friday, December 17, 2021
Inspired by the successful unionization of workers at two Buffalo, New York Starbucks stores last week, employees at a pair of the chain’s Boston-area locations—one in the city’s Allston neighborhood and the other in Brookline—requested votes this week to join the Workers United union.
The letter added that the unionization effort is part of the workers’ “commitment to making Starbucks, Boston, and the world a better place.”
A message from our Boston partners, who just filed for two union elections today: “We are proud to stand in solidarity with our partners in Buffalo and throughout Boston, who have inspired us in the fight for equal bargaining power and a democratic work place!” pic.twitter.com/FT6ES429NO
— SBWorkersUnited (@SBWorkersUnited) December 14, 2021
“We stand firmly in our belief that a union can provide our hardworking partners the justice and equality they deserve while also enriching the company,” the authors wrote.
Starbucks expects to earn a record $29 billion in revenue this year.
Workers United—which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)—has also filed for votes at three Buffalo-area Starbucks stores and one in Mesa, Arizona. While employees of Buffalo’s Elmwood location last week voted 19-8 to unionize, the Camp Road store—which, according to More Perfect Union, “was targeted by Starbucks union-busters more than any other store”—rejected unionization.
Employees at both Massachusetts locations told The Boston Globe that while they like working at Starbucks, they are seeking higher pay and an end to at-will employment, which allows the company to fire them without cause.
Two dozen Starbucks employees in Boston are part of growing coalition of workers looking to unionize the country’s largest coffeehouse chain.
“Our stores could be even stronger if the baristas on the ground — the people on the floor — had more say." https://t.co/RSoR9VGVpz
— Diti Kohli (@ditikohli_) December 14, 2021
“Starbucks is a great company to work at, but we think it could be even better,” Allston barista and union organizing committee member Kylah Clay told the Globe. “Our stores could be even stronger if the baristas on the ground—the people on the floor—had more say. We see this as an opportunity for us to empower one another and get treated as partners by the company.”
Brookline barista and organizing committee member Jasper Torres said that “a common misconception, and a narrative that’s being pushed by Starbucks right now, is that unions only form when there’s a bad work environment, which isn’t the case.”
“I like my store. I really like my co-workers, and I like the environment,” they added. “But I still want to unionize because I want a democratic environment for everyone to work in.”
Employees at the Mesa, Arizona store—where SWU claimed a whistleblowing manager was terminated after alerting her team to the company’s union-busting efforts—also expressed pro-Starbucks sentiments.
If organizers are successful, the Mesa coffee shop would be the first Starbucks in Arizona to form a union.
— azcentral (@azcentral) December 15, 2021
“We want the company to succeed,” the SWU organizing committee said, “and we want our work lives to be the best they can be.”
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