Published Tuesday, August 8, 2023 in The Stand
UPDATE — The Starbucks Workers United “Union Is Calling” bus tour culminated with a protest in front of Starbucks’ Seattle corporate headquarters on Tuesday after traversing the nation, including more than 13 stops in cities from coast to coast.
As the bus pulled in front of the coffee giant’s headquarters, hundreds of Starbucks baristas and allies gathered to protest Starbucks’ union-busting campaign and hold a press conference to raise demands for a fair contract. Starbucks workers were joined by U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), WSLC President April Sims, and others.
As the Starbucks Workers United bus tour continues in Seattle, workers and community allies gathered for a high-energy action Monday at Pike Place Market, home of the first Starbucks store, to support Starbucks workers and build public awareness about the company’s relentless union-busting campaign.
During the action, workers and allies stood in solidarity, marched and danced through Pike Place Market along with a DJ before moving to other Starbucks stores to raise worker demands for the right to organize free from fear and intimidation, a living wage, an end to illegal union-busting tactics, and more.
Seattle is the final stop of Starbucks Workers United’s “Union is Calling” Bus Tour that stopped in 13 cities to let Starbucks partners across the country know the union is calling and the difference a union will make for workers.
Also on Monday, Starbucks workers were in motion across 333 stores in 32 states, organizing flyering events outside of local Starbucks stores to educate customers about the corporation’s ongoing efforts to squash worker organizing.
Participating workers were joined by hundreds of elected officials and allies, each sending a clear message of solidarity and calling out the coffee giant for its illegal union-busting activity. Monday’s “Adopt-a-Store” day of action is just the first of a series of national days of action to activate customers and allies to hold Starbucks accountable and demand they live up to their progressive values. (See #StarbucksSolidarity for pics and videos of nationwide actions.)
More than 8,500 workers at more than 340 stores across 41 states have joined Starbucks Workers United. They are fighting for the right to organize free from fear, intimidation, or coercion from Starbucks; the right to work in a safe, secure, and respectful workplace; a living wage, guaranteed hours, and consistent scheduling; and fairness in the workplace, including a grievance procedure and protection from unjust discipline.
Starbucks bills itself as a progressive company that values its employees, but it has refused to negotiate in good faith with SBWU at the bargaining table.
Starbucks has cut hours, closed stores, and intimidated workers as part of their scorched-earth union-busting campaign. The federal government is currently prosecuting Starbucks in dozens of complaints, encompassing more than 200 charges and alleging over 1,300 violations. This makes the company one of the worst violators of labor law in modern U.S. history.
Despite this, workers are continuing to fight and win.
Here in Washington state, workers at three more Starbucks stores announced union organizing drives on Friday, Aug. 4, including stores at the Seattle Center, the Merlot & Wine Country Starbucks in Prosser, and at 3rd and Madison in Seattle.
A total of 28 Starbucks stores in Washington state have filed for union elections. Of the 25 stores that have had held union elections in Washington, 22 voted to join with Starbucks Workers United. Just two stores rejected the union. (The outcome of one tied vote is pending challenges.)