a Starbucks in Buffalo is trying to Unionize!

Howard Schultz, former CEO, largest shareholder and one-time Presidential candidate, is against it

Starbucks Corporate appears to be using the Walmart and Koch Anti-Union playbook to pressure union organizers
mail-in vote to Unionize is expected to have results on Dec. 9th

4 stores in Buffalo and 1 in Arizona are holding union votes

Great timing...

"The unionization drive at Starbucks comes at a time of growing leverage for workers. Labor shortages have rippled across the country, and Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers, whether out of frustration or in search of better opportunities."
"In recent months, there has been a notable increase in strike activity by unionized workers as well as fresh attempts to form unions by warehouse workers, museum staff and university instructors, among others."
“The pandemic really shook up what workers want and what they expect from a job,” said Lane Windham, a labor historian at Georgetown University. “We’re living in a moment of a new heightened awareness of workers’ rights.”

Many workers don't realize how much power they have by getting organized!

"Unions are rising in public esteem. According to a survey conducted by Gallup in August, approval of labor unions is at its highest point in more than 50 years."
"The poll found that 68% of Americans and 77% of adults aged 34 and younger approved of unions."

“People are remembering, ‘Oh, we have this tool that nobody has been using in a long time, let’s dust it off and try to use it,’” said Windham.
Richard Bensinger, a former organizing director for the AFL-CIO who is working with Starbucks employees, said he was surprised by the level of enthusiasm he encountered in Buffalo.

“I’ve never seen what we would call a hotter shop,” he said. “It’s a Gen Z-millennial uprising.”
a competing coffee chain in Buffalo, Spot Coffee, already unionized in 2019!

their union negotiations got a new contract with substantial wage increases!
workers at the Buffalo Starbucks noticed the severe understaffing during the pandemic and realized the tremendous leverage opportunity

Working in food service means “you feel incredibly disposable,” said Alexis Rizzo, a shift supervisor at a store near the Buffalo airport.
In recent months, however, she could see that the hiring pools maintained by her manager were empty. “There’s nobody to replace us,” she said. “If we were ever going to do something, now is the time.”
free Spotify and a free pound of coffee per week are nice perks, along with free online tuition to ASU, health insurance, and stock options

but Unionizing is about EARNING what you are worth in industries where employees are traditionally undervalued
Howard Schultz should not be leading any company

Reeve said she was especially troubled by a reference Schultz made in his speech to the Holocaust. He said he was told that when Jews were taken to the concentration camps, they were given 1 blanket for every 6 people,
yet most of them shared it with others. “So much of that story is threaded into what we have tried to do at Starbucks, is share our blanket,” said Schultz.

Holocaust analogies - ugh 😬
Starbucks Corporate Anti-Union pressure campaign:

"Since employees began the unionization process in late August, Starbucks has flooded the 20 stores in Buffalo with personnel from across the country, and senior executives from headquarters have shuttled in and out of the city."
Why would Rossann Williams, the President of Starbucks North America, want to talk to a barista?

Rizzo began working for Starbucks six years ago at age 17. She had never seen any senior executives at the stores where she worked until September.
Since then, Rossann Williams, the company’s president for North America, has come to Rizzo’s Starbucks — one of those voting on a union — at least a dozen times, Rizzo said.

When an executive who an employee knows only from company-wide training videos arrives in a store,
“puts her hand on your shoulder and says, ‘Tell me what is going on’ — I don’t care who you are, that is frightening,” said Rizzo, 23. That type of attention in the middle of a union campaign feels intimidating, she said, and younger employees worry their jobs may be in jeopardy.
We see you, Rossann - your unfair labor practices and anti-union intimidation campaign

here's a solution to a union vote likely to succeed - add scab employees to the store to dilute the vote~!

This month, one of the unionizing employees filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, accusing Starbucks of engaging in a campaign of intimidation
and surveillance. The employees also allege that Starbucks has attempted to dilute support for the union by more than doubling the number of staff at one of the voting stores.

The company has mobilized considerable resources.
why don't they mobilize their resources to paying their staff what they deserve?

During a meeting in September, a Starbucks district manager in Arizona told other store managers in her region that she was joining a “huge task force” spending time in Buffalo,
according to Brittany Harrison, one of the participants, who recorded the proceedings. If Buffalo “gets unionized it will be the first market in Starbucks history … which is a really big deal,” the district manager said.
When asked if she is part of a last-ditch effort to stop the union, the district manager replied, “Yeah, we’re going to save it.”

The unionizing employees face an uphill fight. Previous attempts by Starbucks baristas to form unions at company-owned stores —
in New York in 2004 and Philadelphia two years ago — have failed. In July, an administrative judge found that Starbucks had violated labor law by retaliating against two baristas involved in the Philadelphia unionization effort.
Starbucks obviously has the capital to pay their baristas what they deserve

Starbucks reported record revenue in the most recent quarter, driven by its U.S. business. Last month, it announced wage increases that will bring the minimum wage at the company to $15 an hour
by mid-2022. The steps include raises of up to 10 percent for employees who have worked for the company for more than five years, a group Starbucks has not singled out before.
More intimidation:

To argue that a union is not needed, Starbucks has held repeated meetings with staff in Buffalo. William Westlake, 24, a barista at one of the unionizing stores, said he was told to come to a mandatory meeting at a nearby Hampton hotel earlier this month,
the day before the ballots were mailed out.

Nine people were waiting for him. They included two of the extra managers recently added to his store, a district manager, a human resources manager, an operations coach & Shannon Garcia, the senior vice president for U.S. operations.
Employees are our most valuable asset - LOL

For the next 45 minutes, Westlake said, six of them made the case for voting no to a union. They mentioned each of the benefits that Starbucks offers employees and said those “could all go away” if a union is formed,
according to notes Westlake took of the conversation. In the face of such sustained pressure, he said, “the fact that we still even have a chance is a miracle.”
If you want to get your coffee poured by a top manager from Starbucks HQ, come to the Buffalo area stores during the union drive...
A recent visit to a Starbucks near the airport, where workers have filed for a union election, turned up at least 9 baristas behind the counter but only a handful of customers.

“It’s insane,” said Alexis Rizzo, a barista who has been a leader of the organizing campaign
Too many baristas spoil the brew?

at the store. “Even if you’re just trying to run to the back to grab a gallon of milk, you now have to run an obstacle course to fit between all the folks who have no real reason to be there.”
It's a great time to Strike and Unionize during the Great Resignation!

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