Over 100 Starbucks workers have offered a strike in the US during the coffee mammoth’s shareholder meeting, calling for better working conditions and the right to unionize. The workers gathered outside Starbucks’ headquarters in Seattle, carrying posters and chanting taglines similar to” workers united will noway be defeated.”
The workers are part of the Starbucks Workers United group, which aims to unionize Starbucks workers across the US. They claim that Starbucks has a history of union-busting and that workers who try to organize are frequently fired or redressed.
The strike comes just weeks after a group of Starbucks workers in Buffalo, New York suggested unionizing, getting the first Starbucks workers in the US to do so. The move was hailed as a major palm for the labor movement and sparked a stopgap among Starbucks workers across the country.
still, Starbucks has remained largely silent on the issue, with CEO Kevin Johnson saying only that the company respects workers’ rights to organize, but that he believes Starbucks offers a better deal than a union could.
” We’ve always admired the rights of our mates to engage in defended conditioning, including those related to unionization,” Johnson said in a statement.” still, we believe our approach is better for our mates because it creates direct connections between them and the company, and it offers a more competitive compensation and benefits package.”
The workers who walked out on Tuesday argue that this isn’t the case and that they need a union to help cover their rights and negotiate better working conditions.
” We are not asking for anything outrageous,” said Rhiannon Rossi, a Starbucks barista and member of Starbucks Workers United.” We just want the right to unionize and negotiate for better pay and benefits, and a safer plant. We earn to be treated with respect and quality, and we will not stop fighting until we get it.”
The strike was supported by a number of labor and social justice associations, including the Service workers International Union and the Movement for Black Lives. It’s unclear what impact it’ll have on Starbucks’ operations or on the labor movement more astronomically.