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Washington State Democratic Party calling for boycott of Starbucks

SEATTLE—The Washington State Democrats on February 6, led by Chair Shasti Conrad, called on its event partners to boycott Starbucks products until the company agrees to engage in “good faith” bargaining with its union.

“The Washington State Democrats stand with Starbucks workers united and their families,” the Washington State Democrats released on X. “The Democratic Party and the labor movement have been long time allies in the pursuit of justice. That’s why we work with unionized venues whenever possible. We ask our event partners to refrain from using Starbucks products until the company resolves its outstanding labor disputes, respects its workers’ rights to organize, and bargains a contract in good faith.”

Source: https://x.com/washdems/status/1754956395303288992

The Washington State Democrats is standing in solidarity with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Starbucks Workers United in their plight for Starbucks to recognize the demands of thousands of Starbucks workers across the United States who voted to organize for improved working conditions, higher wages, and affordable healthcare options. To view all nine demands, click here.

Starbucks Workers United on Tuesday announced the filing of 47 new federal unfair labor practice charges since December 8, 2023, alleging the Seattle-based coffee juggernaut of illegal firings, withholding of benefits from union workers and failing and refusing to bargain a contract.

“Actions speak much louder than words,” said Lydia Fernandez, a barista in Philadelphia whose post-December 8 firing is the basis of one of the ULPs announced Tuesday. “If Starbucks is indeed sincere in its desire for a kinder, gentler, relationship with its workers, it needs to bargain a fair contract with the nearly 10,000 of us who have already voted to join Starbucks Workers United, and it needs to let the untold thousands more who wish to join together with us the right to organize free of intimidation and retaliation.”

The union criticized the company of not adhering to is commitment released on December 8, 2023, to the collective bargaining effort within “reasonable timeframes.”

“We are proposing the bargaining resume with a set of representative stores in January 2024, and are open to earing other ideas and rules of engagement on how bargaining could proceed,” wrote Sara Kelly, Chief Partner Officer, in a letter to Workers United President Lynne Fox. “We are sincere in this proposal and hope that we can begin the bargaining process that will allow Starbucks and the union to best prioritize our partners.”

Despite their statements on December 8, the union alleges that Starbucks has failed to engage with newly formed local store unions. Starbucks Workers United provided an example of a store in Manchester, Conn. The union workers requested recognition on Nov. 29, 2023, and forty-two days later on January 10, 2024, a filed a charge against Starbucks was filed for “failure and refusal to recognize the union and failure and refusal to bargain.”

Many of the 47 new charges filed today include alleged illegal activity that it claims is ongoing or took place after the company’s December 8 letter. The allegation include:

  • The company is illegally prohibiting union workers from taking part in the North American Barista Championship. Workers receive paid time off to participate in the competition and the winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to a Starbucks-owned estate in Costa Rica. 
  • In January, the company gave raises to workers at nonunion stores, but gave smaller raises to some workers at union stores.
  • The company offered other new benefits, including faster vacation accrual, career opportunities, scheduling improvements, and access to programs to help improve credit scores, but only to workers in nonunion stores.
  • A few days after workers in Providence voted to join Starbucks Workers United, they showed up to work wearing union t-shirts and were told the shirts were not allowed. They were told to go home or turn their shirts inside out, and the store was shut down for the rest of the day.
  • Starbucks fired 17 workers for supporting the union, including five after December 8.

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