Starbucks Workers United has not yet asked supporters to stop frequenting Starbucks locations. But unionized workers have been ramping up customer solidarity organizing, potentially laying the groundwork for a Starbucks boycott.
Faith Bennett is a PhD student in US history at University of California, Davis.
Workers at Peet’s Coffee & Tea in California have announced that they’re filing for a union election. They’re not just inspired by their peers at Starbucks — they’ve been organizing with and learning directly from them.
Workers at a “high-incident” Starbucks in Eugene, Oregon, are often expected to manage in-store conflicts and crises on their own. They say they’re unionizing in response to the company not training or compensating them well enough for the task.
After the historic union victory in Buffalo, Seattle Starbucks workers have filed for union election in the supposedly union-proof company’s hometown. A win in Seattle would be a crack in Starbucks’s mythology.
Starbucks was designed from its inception to be union-proof. But yesterday workers in Buffalo, New York, managed to win the first union at the company in the US. It’s a landmark victory, and it can be replicated elsewhere.
Starbucks portrays itself as a “community of partners,” not an average workplace. But now that workers are organizing a union drive in Buffalo, that warm and fuzzy rhetoric has vanished, replaced by coercion and union-busting.