independent organization associated with the Workers United union and Service Employees International Union, has accumulated a series of unanimous electoral wins in their ongoing nationwide drive to organize the coffee giant.
Overall, Starbucks Workers United have won 21 out of 23 union elections across the United States since the beginning of their campaign last summer. The union’s biggest win to date came last month, with a 46 to 36 win at the company’s flagship roastery in New York. A recent series of four consecutive elections, stretching across Massachusetts, Oregon, New York, and Pennsylvania, have been decided unanimously in favor of the union. The streak ended yesterday when a store in Springfield, Virginia went 10 votes to 8 against joining.
Howard Schultz, billionaire and former presidential candidate, re-took the reins at the company from former CEO Kevin Johnson early last month in the wake of the first series of union wins. Since his re-appearance at the top of the corporate ladder, he has put in overtime to ramp up the company’s union-busting campaign.
Most recently, the New York Times reported on an announcement made by Schultz that policies meant to alleviate attrition at the company, which would include raises and more flexible scheduling, would not initially apply to unionized employees. At the Virginia store, organizers indicated that the threat had a definite impact in the company’s favor for their election, strengthening the union’s case for a potential unfair labor practice complaint against Schultz.
According to worker-leader Gailyn Berg, “we weren’t going to be able to get raises in the next coming months. We’re not going to be able to work at other stores. Definitely our partners believe that [had an impact]”.
Two Starbucks stores have used their power to organize a strike in Seattle starting today. Workers walked out of their stores to demand a pay increase to $20/hour and full healthcare coverage, as well as an improvement to staffing policy.
In Wisconsin, four Starbucks locations across the state have made a move for a union election. These locations, located in Plover, Appleton, Oak Creek, and Madison, have not yet been seen by the National Labor Relations Board to set their election dates yet.
Reporting Courtesy of Sean Hagerup for Labor Radio
Image Courtesy of Marco Paköeningrat on Flickr