Less than two years after Starbucks workers went public with their union campaign, the union has now won its 300th store, marking a major milestone in the campaign that is now helping to inspire a new generation of union activists.
On Friday, the 7th and K store in Sacramento, California, voted to unionize in a landslide win of 11 to 2, becoming the 300th Starbucks location in the U.S. to vote for unionization. This is the largest number of new unions seen within a single company at any point in the 21st century, according to Starbucks Workers United, which celebrated the victory.
“No one thought what we were doing in Buffalo was possible or that it would end up spreading so far and wide across the country,” barista and union organizer Michelle Eisen said in a statement. “Starbucks baristas are writing labor history, and I’m so proud we were able to show other partners what we could win if we stood together.”
“I am overjoyed that despite Starbucks using every dirty trick to deter us, we were able to become true partners in the company. We could not have done it without our union siblings at the 299 stores that came before us, and we are thrilled that our store can represent such an impressive milestone,” said 7th and K barista and organizer Maizie Jensen.
Indeed, the significance of Starbucks workers’ union campaign can hardly be overstated, with labor experts hailing it for kicking off a new beginning for the labor movement; their movement, along with Amazon workers’ historic campaign, has been cited as inspiration for numerous retail and warehouse union efforts in recent years, including those at Trader Joe’s, Home Depot and Tesla.
That workers even won their first union in Buffalo, back in December of 2021, was a major victory in the face of the company’s extreme union-busting campaign — the company has been found to have violated labor laws hundreds of times in Buffalo alone during those initial months of the campaign. The company hasn’t laid off its union busting, and the unions won ever since have been a major uphill battle.
“Hearing the news of the 300th store voting to unionize is obviously incredibly exciting and so motivating, but at the same time, it just makes me more disappointed in the behavior Starbucks has been ceaselessly exhibiting,” said Natalie Mattera, a worker at the Eastlake store in Seattle, which was the 100th store to vote to unionize. “Almost 1 year and 200 stores later, and now more than ever, I’m calling on Starbucks to sit down and bargain because we aren’t slowing down and have no plans to stop.”
The 300th win comes in a time when the phase of forming new unions within the company has slowed down from its peak last year; the 100th and 200th unionized store milestones took place within two months of each other last summer. Still, unionizing another 100 stores in just nine months is an accomplishment on its own in a time when the rate of unionization across the U.S. has otherwise hit an all-time low.
So far, the union has won roughly 80 percent of its union votes, according to data from the National Labor Relations Board. There are 13 elections queued up for the coming weeks. The win also comes as the company has still yet to reach a first contract agreement with any of the unionized stores, with workers waging protests urging the company to stop delaying and bargain in good faith.