Home Culture and Society ‘Our Movement Is Only Growing’: Workers at Over 50 Starbucks Seeking Unions...

‘Our Movement Is Only Growing’: Workers at Over 50 Starbucks Seeking Unions – Brett Wilkins

What began last month with a promising trickle has turned into a torrent as workers in at least 16 Starbucks stores on Monday moved to unionize.

Starbucks Workers United—which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)—announced Monday that workers at 16 of the coffee chain’s locations filed for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In a letter to Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson, organizers at the 16th location to file union papers on Monday—the Garden Home Marketplace Starbucks in Portland, Oregon—said that they “have decided to unionize because it is time that our voices are heard, respected, and considered appropriately.”


“Our movement is only growing,” Starbucks Workers United tweeted. “Partners around the country are standing up for what’s right and we couldn’t be more inspired!”

According to More Perfect Union, workers at more than 50 Starbucks stores in 19 states have now moved to unionize following the successful unionization of employees at two Buffalo, New York-area stores.

AFL-CIO president Liz Shuler has accused Starbucks of engaging in anti-union tactics in a bid to thwart workers’ unionization drive. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) last month decried the company’s union-busting efforts, while calling Starbucks workers an “inspiration.” 

Speaking at a rally in support of the Starbucks workers last week, Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant (Socialist Alternative-District 3)—who is donating $10,000 from her Solidarity Fund to the employees’ organizing effort—said that “it is extremely critical that we build on the success of Buffalo for a nationwide almighty battle to unionize and follow that up with a class-struggle-based approach to winning contracts.”