Workers at First Unionized Starbucks Walk Off Job to Protest Working Conditions

On Wednesday, workers at the Elmwood Starbucks location in Buffalo, New York, walked off the job to protest working conditions, citing the company’s failure to address COVID-related safety issues.

According to the union, workers are protesting because they have been forced to work through “unsafe working conditions,” facing health concerns and understaffing.

Elmwood organizer Michelle Eisen called the walkout a “necessary stand.”

“Starbucks would rather let loyal employees walk than address critical issues regarding COVID,” Eisen wrote. “Corporate continues to put profits over partners. We’ve had enough.”

Eisen stated in an interview with More Perfect Union, that employees were denied access after sharing concerns about COVID over the past week with the company.

“They said under no uncertain terms that as long as there are enough employees to meet the needs of the business then everything was being taken care of,” she said. “We’re not going to go back into the store until we feel that we’re safe.”

Starbucks workers have raised COVID-related concerns before. Workers claim that they have. been forced to enter while sick – a problem exacerbated by understaffing issues which have resulted in the company pressuring employees to come to work.

The protest follows weeks later The workers voted to form the very first unionStarbucks owned by a corporate entity. Elmwood workers report receiving gifts from all over the countryHandwritten letters are also an option to show solidarity with their union tipsAnd even more an engraved plaqueThe New York State Public Employees Federation.

Their win inspired other Starbucks locations All across the countryYou can organize and even file union petitions, sparking what could become. A wave of unionizations across some of the company’s 9,000 corporate-owned locations.

The revival of the labor movement saw workers all over the country join the unionization effort. StrikesAnd organizing their workplaces despite facing massive opposition. Despite the fact that workers at Kellogg John DeereRecently, long strikes were ended after contracts were reached. Some strikes that began last summer are still being worked out. still ongoingFor example, steelworkers in West Virginia are striking for better wages, and better benefits, since October.

The Elmwood workers were joined by McDonald’s workers in Palmdale, CaliforniaThe worker, who was attempting to secure safer working conditions, walked off the job Wednesday. Workers claim that the company failed to fix critical equipment at the store. like air conditioning, drainage, and ventilation.

“Short staffing and the breakdown of kitchen equipment make it harder to do our jobs; we get yelled at while [McDonald’s] continues to profit,” wrote Fight for $15 LA on Twitter.

The renewed labor activism that has been popping up all over the country has caught our attention. Support influential figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who held a town hall on Wednesday to mark 2022 as “the year of solidarity.” During the town hall, Sanders reminded striking steel and coal workersThey are not fighting for their own rights, but for workers all over the country.

“If they get away with slashing your health care – you’ve got strong unions, great unions – what do you think they’re gonna do to the guy who doesn’t have a union? If they’re able to slash wages and not keep up with inflation, what do you think they’re going to do to people who don’t have a union?” Sanders asked. “So by standing strong, you are representing not only your own membership, but also workers across this country.”