The Starbucks Union Efforts Just Passed A Major Milestone

If you've been following the massive union campaign over at Starbucks, you might forget that the highly publicized national drive hasn't been in the news for as long as it might seem. Workers' push for unionization at the coffee giant took off in December 2021 following an outcry from workers at a Buffalo outpost, whose demands included better training programs and expanded benefits (via The New York Times). When word caught on at other locations across the country, Starbucks workers felt empowered to rally for similar demands from their own managers, resulting in one of the biggest labor movements in recent years, and with a huge support network — including the National Labor Relations Board, which sued Starbucks in April for alleged retaliation against union organizers — to boot. 

What's more, the union drive at Starbucks may have inspired similar campaigns at corporations like Trader Joe's, whose second location voted to unionize just last month, and whose Hadley, Massachusetts location kicks off its official union election today, July 27 (via Twitter). Only time will tell if TJ's workers will gain the same traction as those at Starbucks, whose union efforts just reached a major milestone this week. 

Starbucks has surpassed 200 pro-union stores

Oh, how time flies — it seems like only yesterday that union attempts at Starbucks expanded to 19 states. On July 22, the campaign hit an even more impressive milestone by reaching 200 pro-union stores, Nation's Restaurant News reports. That number came courtesy of workers in Cleveland, who voted 11-9 to join Starbucks Workers United, per the National Labor Relations Board. On July 26, workers in Long Island, New York took things up to 201 by voting "yes" to unionize. 

Despite these successes, corporate leaders at Starbucks still oppose its workers' organizing efforts. A Starbucks Workers United representative told Nation's Restaurant News that, "in addition to firings," Starbucks is "also trying to make life in the stores increasingly difficult for workers" by opening stores earlier, requiring workers to come in before sunrise, or by closing stores altogether and denying workers a paycheck. CNBC reports that, as of May, Starbucks was facing more than 200 violations of the National Labor Relations Act.