Starbucks Baristas Battling For First Contracts

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Striking Starbucks workers in Los Angeles. 400 of Starbucks’ 9,000 corporate-owned stores have formed unions with Starbucks Workers United

Starbucks baristas from 21 stores around the United States told the company on Tuesday that they plan to organise, potentially adding hundreds of new members to a union campaign that’s battling the coffee chain for first contracts.

The union, Starbucks Workers United, said it is the largest group of Starbucks stores to go public with their organising plans in a single day since the effort began in Buffalo, New York state in 2021.
The locations are scattered across 14 states from coast to coast.
Workers sent a joint letter to the company’s CEO, Laxman Narasimhan, demanding ‘higher wages, fair and consistent scheduling, improved benefits, and a safe and dignified workplace.’
The Starbucks workers are demanding minimum pay of $20 per hour, annual raises of 5 per cent and a guarantee of at least 32 hours a week for full-time workers, among other proposals.
‘We have been met with higher and higher expectations without being given the resources to meet them,’ they wrote.
Baristas at roughly 400 of Starbucks’ 9,000 corporate-owned stores have formed unions with Starbucks Workers United as part of the campaign, one of the biggest US labour organising successes in years.
Starbucks Workers United has won more than 80 per of the union elections that have been held, according to the National Labour Relations Board, the federal agency that oversees elections and investigates union-busting allegations.
The Starbucks workers’ fight for better pay and conditions comes against the backdrop of intimidation by company managers.
Federal labour prosecutors have accused Starbucks of illegally firing union supporters, making unlawful threats and refusing to bargain with workers throughout the campaign.
Labour board judges have ruled against Starbucks again and again, finding the company violated the law in 48 of 49 cases that have been heard so far, according to data provided by the NLRB spokesperson.
The Starbucks effort is part of a wave of new organising at big-name companies like Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Apple and REI, all of which were previously union-free.
Those campaigns have all notched big organising wins but have struggled to secure contractual gains at the bargaining table.
Meanwhile, a wave of union organising in the Legacy Health system continued in recent weeks, with three more workplaces voting to unionise.
A group of 50 nurse practitioners and physician assistants at two Legacy Health hospitals voted 40-0 to join the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), in mail ballots.
The new branch covers workers at Legacy Emanuel and Legacy Good Samaritan who are collectively referred to as ‘advanced practice providers’.
A group of 17 obstetricians and gynecologists voted 16-1 to join Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association in mail ballots last week.
And 27 cyber security engineers and clinical engineering or bio-medical equipment technicians voted 22-4 to join Operating Engineers Local 701 at the beginning of the month.
Those follow a string of union organising wins at the nonprofit health system:

  • 360 nurses at Legacy Mount. Hood Medical Centre joined ONA in April 2023;
  • 60 clinical social workers and other health care staff joined ONA in August;
  • 196 doctors at six Legacy hospitals joined the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association (PNHMA) in November;
  • 140 health care technologists at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Centre joined Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals in December; and
  • 30 midwives at Legacy’s Women’s Health Clinics joined ONA in January.

Legacy Health is a private nonprofit health system that operates eight hospitals and more than 70 clinics in Oregon and Washington state.
In August, it announced a plan to combine with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in a $1 billion merger that, if approved, would create the single largest employer in Portland.
Portland’s first union bike shop has its first union contract.
On 26th January workers at Community Cycling Centre (CCC) unanimously ratified a one-year contract that increases paid time off, ensures annual cost of living raise.
CCC operates a bike repair and maintenance shop at 1700 Northeast Alberta Street and runs programmes to teach bike safety and basic repair to kids and adults.
In May, managers voluntarily recognised International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 5 as the bargaining representative for about 20 workers, including shop mechanics, retail staff, and program specialists.
Under the contract, which expires March 2025, workers receive five paid ‘floating holidays’ they can use as they choose to cover an absence.
That’s in addition to the personal paid time off they accrue.
On days the shop is closed for a holiday, CCC must offer other kinds of work to employees who ask for that option, so no one is forced to use PTO, a paid floating holiday, or go unpaid on those days.
The contract also codifies the shop’s existing practice to pay all positions a starting rate equal to Portland’s living wage, as calculated in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Living Wage Calculator. Right now, that rate is $21.58 an hour.
However, MIT updates the wage annually to account for inflation, so workers’ pay would rise as it does.
Elsewhere, members of Teamsters Local 997 at Molson Coors brewery in Fort Worth, Texas, were forced to strike yesterday over the company’s disgusting pay package and complete unwillingness to reach a fair agreement with workers.
Teamsters walked off the job after Molson Coors failed to come to terms on a new three-year contract that respects the 420 workers who make, package, and warehouse the company’s beer and beverage brands.
The strike shuts down production at the only brewery that services the entire Western region of the United States with major Molson Coors products.
Despite having months to negotiate, Molson Coors presented insulting and regressive contract proposals, including offering less than a $1 per hour wage increase for the majority of Teamsters members.
Local 997 is seeking a pay rise that reflects the impact of inflation over the term of the expired contract and the elimination of two-tiered health care and retirement benefits.
Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said: ‘As long as the profits keep flowing to the top, Molson Coors doesn’t give a damn if the workers inside its breweries can afford to take care of their families.
‘They put pennies on the table for the workers behind these products. They want to strip working families of their health care. The greed and abuse from Molson Coors must end now.
‘Executives shamelessly brag to investors about the company’s incredible growth and historic earnings.
‘Millions go to the CEO, billions go to Wall Street, and a middle finger goes to the workers.
‘We’re not taking the disrespect, we’re not accepting the crumbs, and we’re not making concessions.
‘This follows a successful strike at Anheuser Busch in January so we are confident we can win this dipute as well.’
The United Auto Workers union is threatening to go on strike from Saturday at Ford Motor Company’s largest and most profitable factory in a dispute over local contract language.
The union said that nearly 9,000 workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville will strike on February 23 if the local contract dispute is not resolved.
If there’s a strike, it would be the second time the union has walked out at the factory in the past year.
In October, UAW workers shut down the plant during national contract negotiations that ended with large raises for employees.
The plant, one of two Ford factories in Louisville, makes heavy-duty F-Series pickup trucks and the Ford Excursion and Lincoln Navigator large SUVs.
The UAW says that workers have been without a local contract for five months.
The main areas of dispute are health and safety issues, minimum in-plant nurse staffing and the company’s effort to reduce the number of skilled trades workers.
Ford said that negotiations continue .
If an agreement is not reached the strike will begin at 12:01 a.m. local time.
It says there are 19 other local agreements being negotiated with Ford, and several more at General Motors and Stellantis.
The strike threat comes one day after Ford CEO Jim Farley said that the Louisville factory was the first truck plant that the UAW walked out of during last year’s strike.