Starbucks union calls for strikes, pickets ahead of shareholder meeting

Mar 22, 2023, 11:58 AM | Updated: 1:45 pm

Seattle Starbucks strike...

Seattle Starbucks workers on strike (Photo from Hanna Scott, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo from Hanna Scott, KIRO Newsradio)

Workers at Starbucks locations and offices across the country are picketing to demand an end to the company’s “union busting” and demand “livable wages.”

Café employees and their supporters protested outside company headquarters Wednesday.

Starbucks CEO: ‘Negotiations should be done face-to-face’

Starbucks Workers United is organizing strikes at more than 100 locations across the country, similar to strikes organized back in December.

In a statement to KIRO Newsradio, Starbucks says that the demonstrations are not disrupting operations at most of its cafes today.

The labor demonstrations come one day before the coffee giant’s annual shareholders meeting and one week before former Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz is scheduled to testify before a U.S. Senate Committee about working conditions and union negotiations. Schultz refused to testify until threatened with a subpoena.

The strike and picket also come three days into the tenure of Laxman Narasimhan, who was named CEO last fall in anticipation of Schultz’s departure, with the union stating they hope the new CEO will “stop [Starbucks’] unprecedented campaign of union busting.”

“Starbucks baristas like me are the ones who keep our stores running. We remember our customers’ regular orders, make the lattes, clean up spills, and are often the bright spot of our customers’ days. We are the heart and soul of Starbucks,” said Sarah Pappin, a Seattle Starbucks worker and member of Starbucks Workers United, in a press release. “Instead of celebrating the law-breaking former CEO h***-bent on silencing us, Starbucks should respect our right to organize and meet us at the bargaining table. We are Starbucks, and we deserve better.”

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In the past 15 months, at least 7,500 Starbucks workers voted to unionize and are still bargaining their first contracts. The NLRB’s regional offices have also issued more than 80 official complaints against Starbucks in that time period, prosecuting the company for over 1,400 specific alleged violations of federal labor law.

Earlier this month, a federal labor judge ordered Starbucks to reinstate seven fired workers, reopen a shuttered location and stop infringing on workers’ rights after finding that the company violated labor laws “hundreds of times” during a unionization campaign in Buffalo, NY.

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Starbucks union calls for strikes, pickets ahead of shareholder meeting