Starbucks “has embarrassed us over and over again and has not respected us.” So said Edith Saldano, a worker at the multinational chain of coffeehouses in Santa Cruz County. U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna had to intervene in the situation.
The case does not look good for the Seattle, Washington-based company. According to employees who are trying to organize or join the union, Starbucks is going against them, i.e., retaliating, which, if true, represents a danger to workers’ freedom.
Saldano pointed out that at the first meeting to negotiate terms held last November, the lawyers from the world’s largest coffeehouse chain did not even stay to discuss the issue. After a few minutes, they left and abandoned the negotiation.
He also reported that they “waited all day” to be attended by Starbucks’ lawyers and got nothing in return. In fact, they even lost a day of work. In order to expose the serious situation they are going through, they gave Congressman Khanna a contract proposal for the employees. “We’re asking that you read it over and that you talk to them,” Saldano said.
For his part, Khanna “thanked” him for the fight he is leading, “not just for yourself but for everyone.” As a demonstration of being attentive to the issue between Howard Schultz’s company and the workers’ union, Kahanna revealed to the employees that he met with other union members in Los Angeles to have more tools to persuade the company to allow unionization of the rest of the stores.
The Starbucks situation is not new. Previously, the National Labor Relations Board has accused the chain of coffeehouses, founded in 1971, of illegally firing union workers. In addition, they face dozens of charges of violating federal labor laws.
Due to the criticism, in many of the cases that have ended up in court, judges have ruled against Starbucks. For its part, the multinational chain accuses the union of failing to agree to bargain on good terms and denies the allegations made by employees like Saldano.
Workers walked out to protest Starbucks’ aggressive & illegal union-busting campaign, including cutting workers’ hours and purposefully understaffing the store. #starbucks #howardschultz #starbucksunion #uniontok #walkout
“They run us into the ground until we’re too fatigued, and we were replaced with cheaper baristas,” revealed an employee who, out of fear, did not want to give his name to the local media. This also leads to many workers not wanting to unionize.
According to Brandon Dawkins, vice president of organizing for SEIU Local 1021, told MarketWatch that the company founded by Jerry Baldwin is “putting fear into stores that want to unionize… they see what the unionized workers are going through”.
U too can sign a union card…
because every Union beings with "U" <3 pic.twitter.com/z1YYnnSSoh
— Starbucks Workers United (@SBWorkersUnited) February 14, 2023
Starbucks spokesman Andrew Trull said the allegations against the coffeehouse and roastery chain are “simply false.” The representative indicated that lawyers have indeed sat at the bargaining table, allegedly in “more than 85 meetings” since October 2022.
“Starbucks has been met by union representatives who insist on broadcasting in-person sessions to unknown individuals not in the room and, in some instances, have posted excerpts of the sessions online,” Trull reported. The situation continues to await a resolution to the benefit of both parties.