Starbucks workers carry out their largest single-day strike

Workers organized under Starbucks Workers United are picketing outside of over 100 Starbucks locations across the US. They are protesting the corporation’s failure to meet workers at the bargaining table and adequately staff stores

November 17, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Striking workers in front of a Starbuck location in Massachusetts (Photo: Boston Starbucks Workers United)

Workers organized under Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) are staging their largest single-day strike to date on Thursday, November 17. Thousands of workers will picket outside over 100 stores across the United States. Workers chose to strike on Red Cups Day, an important day for Starbucks marketing as they provide special discounts in celebration of upcoming holidays. Starbucks Workers United is conducting the unfair labor practice strike to protest the corporation’s failure to meet workers at the bargaining table and adequately staff stores.

“I’ve been with Starbucks for 7 years and I’ve stuck around for that long for many reasons,” said Jack Salvucci, a shift manager at a Starbucks location in Boston. “But throughout this time, there have been so many days where the amount of work I’ve needed to do has seemed downright impossible for just one person.”

According to Starbucks Workers United, “Starbucks partners are the face and cornerstone of the Company, yet they are forced into running perpetually understaffed stores, and given inconsistent schedules they can’t rely on.”

“Now, Starbucks partners are demanding the company meet them at the bargaining table to create improved standards in staffing and scheduling, along with a host of other bargaining proposals that have been crafted by partner leaders across the country,” the union stated.

Over the past year, Starbucks workers have successfully won unionization drives at 264 stores. Labor organizing has been popular among workers: It is not rare for these drives to pass unanimously

Starbucks workers have claimed that the company has retaliated against workers trying to organize a union through unjust firings across the country, and other methods. SBWU also claims that Starbucks has been avoiding engaging with workers at the bargaining table through last-minute rescheduling or by simply walking out of bargaining sessions.

A.J. Jones of the Starbucks communications department told NPR that “nothing could be further from the truth,” claiming that SBWU has been “overly aggressive” in scheduling bargaining. 

SBWU claims that the National Labor Relations Board, the government body that resolves disputes between workers and bosses, has filed 39 official complaints against Starbucks for over 900 violations of labor law.

“One of the ways Starbucks makes their billions is by exploiting our labor, especially on days like their famous ‘Red Cup Day.’ We are striking on what is historically known as Starbucks’ biggest day of the year because, as of today, the Cleveland Circle Starbucks has not had a single contract bargaining session with Starbucks despite winning our union vote back in April of this year,” said Brighton, Massachusetts Starbucks shift manager Willow Montana. “If the company won’t bargain in good faith, why should we come to work where we are understaffed, underpaid, and overworked?”