Skip to content Skip to footer

Workers at Over 300 Starbucks Locations Have Filed to Unionize

Over 5,000 Starbucks workers have now unionized with Starbucks Workers United, according to some counts.

Stephanie Hernandez, organizer with Workers United (left) and Kieren Levy, a barista who works at the Mount Vernon Starbucks on North Charles Street pose outside the establishment.

Starbucks Workers United, the group behind over 180 Starbucks unionizations and counting, recently hit another milestone: workers have now filed to unionize at more than 300 Starbucks locations.

The union announced the milestone in a tweet on Tuesday as it posted yet more letters from workers — this time in Clifton Park, New York, and Springfield, Oregon — announcing their intent to unionize. According to More Perfect Union, 306 stores have filed to unionize as of Friday.

Workers are filing to join what has been a remarkably successful movement, with about 187 stores winning their elections so far, according to People’s Policy Project; just eight months ago, there were zero unionized Starbucks locations. About 85 percent of stores that have held union elections have won.

People’s Policy Project also found in a report on Monday that the 82 elections the union won last month covered nearly 2,200 workers, bringing the total number of Starbucks workers covered under unions to 5,080. With a projected 104 victories coming in the next months, the report says, the union will soon cover nearly 8,000 workers.

The union has also filed a total of 225 unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks, alleging that the company has broken the law hundreds of times in its anti-union campaign.

The company has retaliated against pro-union workers by firing numerous union organizers and pro-union employees and closing at least one unionized store, among many other charges. Last week in Seattle, workers at three unionizing stores were abruptly told that their jobs at the stores were gone, and that they should either transfer to another store or quit — a move that workers said was a blatant act of union busting. As of June 24, only one of the workers had been rehired, according to the union.

“I was convinced that if I followed through with supporting the company, without a union, I would be well taken care of,” one worker who was affected by the announcement said in a press release. “After expressing my love for the company to Howard Schultz, it is an absolute betrayal to be displaced from the store I loved so much only a month later with no explanation as to why, just gone. It’s hard to believe this wasn’t premeditated.”

Recently, Starbucks has also been threatening that union members will lose access to trans-inclusive health care and abortion travel funds in cruel attempts to leverage fear over recent right-wing attacks on bodily autonomy in order to quash the union effort.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken note of the company’s union-busting efforts. The board’s Buffalo office recently filed in court asking for an injunction against Starbucks to force the company to reinstate seven union organizers it fired earlier this year.

The NLRB also asked the court for a bargaining order — one of the most forcible actions it can take against an employer — to require the company to recognize and bargain with a union in one of the original stores that filed for a union, Camp Road in Buffalo. The union vote had failed in the store, but the NLRB said that “traditional Board remedies will be unable to restore ‘laboratory conditions’ to enable the NLRB to conduct a free and fair rerun election.”

“This decision is an important step in holding CEO [Howard Schultz] accountable for his assault against workers exercising their fundamental right to organize,” Starbucks Workers United wrote in response to the NLRB filing. “We hope that Starbucks will choose to reverse their anti-union campaign and instead choose to work with their partners.”

The stakes have never been higher (and our need for your support has never been greater).

For over two decades, Truthout’s journalists have worked tirelessly to give our readers the news they need to understand and take action in an increasingly complex world. At a time when we should be reaching even more people, big tech has suppressed independent news in their algorithms and drastically reduced our traffic. Less traffic this year has meant a sharp decline in donations.

The fact that you’re reading this message gives us hope for Truthout’s future and the future of democracy. As we cover the news of today and look to the near and distant future we need your help to keep our journalists writing.

Please do what you can today to help us keep working for the coming months and beyond.