Starbucks union accuses company of stalling negotiations

The union representing over 300 unionized Starbucks locations is accusing the company of sabotaging contract negotiations and is calling for a national contract.

Starbucks Workers United is demanding that the coffee company come to the bargaining table to bang out a national contract after talks at individual stores have cooled. Not one of the hundreds of organized stores has reached a contract.

“The company has had 15 of our core proposals for seven months. They have not signed off on a single line or sentence or countered on anything,” Starbucks Workers United President Lynne Fox told HuffPost.

The union is asking for fair scheduling procedures, guaranteed minimum hours, a national minimum wage and to schedule union elections in the organized stores. The union also wants to carve out space for location-specific agreements if necessary.

Starbucks rejected the idea of a national contract, saying the union’s desire to do so reflects a failure to negotiate a contract in any of the unionized locations.

Individual contract negotiations are tough for the union. It spreads the union’s resources thin and elongates the process.

Workers United says Starbucks has refused to comply with preconditions the union set out for negotiations, including letting the talks be held over Zoom. The company says both parties would get a better result if negotiations were held in person.

Former CEO Howard Schultz has blamed the union for choosing the path of store-by-store negotiations over regional elections and negotiations, which the company initially proposed back in 2021.

The company likely has an interest in drawing out talks as long as possible. Since the turnover rate for employees is so high at Starbucks locations, the longer that stores go without a contract, the higher the chance workers will become disillusioned with the union. Three stores that voted to unionize last year have moved to decertify their unions.

The momentum is still on the side of the unions. The National Labor Relations Board has filed nearly 100 complaints against Starbucks over the past year, accusing the company of illegally firing workers and retaliating against union organizers. And federal judges have ruled in favor of the agency in several high-profile cases.

Source: WT