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Saturday, May 25, 2024
State Street Starbucks

Starbucks to begin bargaining with unionized workers

Employees at the State Street Starbucks expressed reserved feelings toward bargaining with corporate.

Starbucks announced last month it will begin bargaining with workers at its unionized stores in addition to distributing raises and other benefits to employees.

Starbucks’ Chief Partner Officer Sara Kelly said in a Feb. 27 press release that Starbucks is discussing “a fair process for organizing and the resolution of some outstanding litigation” with workers represented by Starbucks Workers United, the largest labor union for Starbucks employees. 

“There is a lot of work ahead, but this is an important, positive step. It is a clear demonstration of our intent to build a constructive relationship with Workers United in the interest of our partners,” Kelly said in the release.

Workers United called the decision “a clear demonstration of a shared commitment to working collaboratively and with mutual respect” toward baristas in a statement.

State Street Starbucks shift supervisor Matthew Cartwright said he was optimistic yet hesitant that bargaining will accomplish fair treatment from Starbucks.

“We’re very excited for it, we’re very hopeful, and we always have to maintain that we believe the company will do the right thing. We hope they will, regardless of their track record, which has not always proven that,” Cartwright told The Daily Cardinal. “It’s a cautious optimism.”

Allie Kerr, a barista who helped organize the State Street union, echoed Cartwright’s sentiments.

“My first thought when I heard the news is how excited I am for our partners at the Cap Square store and many of the other stores who have had credit card tipping, wage increases and other benefits withheld from them since they organized,” Kerr told the Cardinal. “This gesture means a lot and indicates that Starbucks may be ready to truly come to the table.”

Like Cartwright, Kerr said she is still “cautiously optimistic” about the news, given Starbucks has “definitely backtracked before” when bargaining with unions.

Barista Mona Kemstra was more confident about the possibilities stemming from this decision.

“I am excited to see this next step starting after the long journey it took to get here,” Kemstra told the Cardinal. “I am hopeful this will finally be the conclusion thousands of partners across the country have been waiting for, and we will be able to negotiate a contract with Starbucks to better the conditions for partners nationally.”

Starbucks has a reputation for union busting. According to Reuters, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint last December that forced the company to reopen 23 stores allegedly shut down to discourage unionization.

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Starbucks was unable to provide further information about talks with Workers United.

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