Progressive lawmakers are celebrating after Starbucks workers in Buffalo triumphed over nearly insurmountable odds to form the company’s first-ever union on Thursday, a sign that the reawakening U.S. labor movement is growing stronger.
Workers at ElmwoodBuffalo voted 19 to 8 in favor of forming a union. One store, Camp Road voted against joining a union. The National Labor Relations Board has yet to finalize the vote from Genesee Street, the third location whose vote was slated to be counted Thursday. However, the union is ahead according to the unofficial count. 15 to 9The union, not counting seven challenged votes. The union is confidentThat the vote will go their way.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) congratulated Elmwood workers for “the HISTORIC achievement of organizing the first-ever union at a company-owned Starbucks in the U.S.” He continued to criticize Starbucks, saying, “The company should stop pouring money into the fight against the union and negotiate a fair contract now.”
The company We have poured in a lot of resourcesIn its fight against the union it sent high-ranking executives from New York to Buffalo to monitor and intimidate workers. It also held mandatory meetings to spread anti-union propaganda and told workers to vote No. More Perfect Union discovered that the company was actually a union. was so desperate to union bust that it fired an employee with cancer because she was uncovering the company’s shady union-busting tactics.
Sanders said that the workers’ efforts were inspiring, especially in the face of such strong opposition. “Workers with [Starbucks Workers United]They are today’s history. They are a tremendous inspiration and it is so encouraging to see people all over the country standing up for themselves and each other,” he wrote. “In solidarity, together, working people can achieve the dignity they deserve.”
In a tweet celebrating the workers’ effort, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) also highlighted the company’s union-busting campaign. “Hell yeah! Nothing like the smell of union coffee in the morning,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Congrats to [Starbucks Workers United]Buffalo was home to the first unionized Starbucks in America! Last month, workers were open to sharing the immense pressure they felt. Proud of them for pulling through.”
Starbucks corporate sent a note to express disappointment at the vote even though Elmwood was unionized. “I am saddened that in the end the majority of you decided it was best for Workers United to represent you to myself, your District Manager and your Store Managers,” wrote Starbucks district managerMichaela Murphy writes a letter addressed to Elmwood. “Everything we love most about Starbucks is the direct relationship we have to each of you and our ability to work together to create a better tomorrow.” Murphy then claimed that the union campaign was “divisive” for the staff.
Starbucks Workers United was the response. Affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, pointed out the company’s hypocrisy. “We ask them to live up to the company’s Mission & Values and collaborate with us, instead of continuing to change our work environment by trying to pit partners against partners in our store and third-partying our union,” the union wrote.
The win is still a huge victory for the labor movement, which has been experiencing a resurgence over the past few years. John Deere workers voted last month for a new contract, following a month-long, 10,000-strong strike. Nearly 100,000 people are employedAt the same time, many union members across many industries went on strike in October. They were fighting for better working conditions as the pandemic continues.
Rep. Jamaal Bman (D–New York) encouraged labor activists not to give up in a tweet. saying, “Let’s unionize the whole country, and the world! Then let’s make these companies worker owned!”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus also celebrated the win, offering congratulations to the workers, and promoting the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), which would make it easier to unionize in a time when union membership is declining. “Every worker in the country should have the right to organize and join a union,” the caucus wrote. “It’s just one more reason we need to abolish the filibuster and pass the PRO Act in the Senate.”