Alabama has another groundbreaking union effort coming to the state.
Starbucks, the multi billion dollar coffee franchise, has thousands of locations nationwide and thousands more worldwide.
Unionized labor has been a significant topic of discussion in Alabama, with the fate of the votes in a unionizing effort of an Amazon fulfillment center still being debated by opposing sides due to a deciding number of contested ballots.
Alabama miners have been locked in a year-long strike against Warrior Met Coal through the United Mine Workers of America.
According to a release by Starbucks Workers United (SWU), a New York-based union, a Birmingham location is now seeking to unionize with the SWU.
Store 23642, located on 20th St in downtown Birmingham, has informed the executive leadership of their desire to pursue unionization.
“We as the organizing committee are writing to you, on behalf of the partners of Starbucks Store 23642, to announce our intent to unionize,” a letter read. “We proudly stand with the partners of all stores across the U.S. joining to collectively bargain for their rights.
“We cannot live up to the standards we wish to follow as our partners’ voices continue to be unheard. We wish to bring our very best to the customers we love and request Starbucks follows its own self-proclaimed mission statement in regards to our decision. We ask that Starbucks signs the Non-interference and Fair Election Principles provided by Starbucks Workers United. We demand to be treated fairly through our election process.”
No immediate demands were made regarding pay, working conditions, hours or anything else.
The non-interference demands of the SWU are detailed on their website and are based on the union’s claim that “the right to organize a union is a fundamental civil right essential to democracy.”
The demands include:
Individual workers from the Birmingham location have not responded to 1819 News requests for comment, but the Birmingham chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (BDSA) has been sharing information on unionizing efforts via social media.
The BDSA has been encouraging customers of the Birmingham Starbucks location to have pro-union messages written on their cups and to share their cups on social media.
The BDSA claimed on social media that customers were being told that Starbucks management was not allowing workers to include pro-union messages on their cups.
Managers at our Starbucks store on 3rd S/20th S aren’t letting paying customers list the word “union” in their name.— Birmingham DSA🌹 (@BhamDSA) April 12, 2022
Say it with us, folks: union busting is disgusting! https://t.co/6pSI468G7F
The BDSA also claimed that the Birmingham store was closing early Tuesday for a union-busting meeting.
Howard Schultz, who has served as CEO of Starbucks in the past, was recently announced as the new interim CEO, citing a need to acknowledge “missteps” and a desire to “re-imagine” the company.
Schultz has also come under fire after the SWU claimed that the company fired four separate union organizers since Shultz became the acting CEO on April 4.
“Put simply, the law gives our partners a right to organize, and it also protects the right to work without having a union,” Schultz said in a written statement. “I have learned that only a very small fraction (less than 1%) of more than 200,000 Starbucks partners in the U.S. have voted for unionization, and in union elections that have occurred at Starbucks stores, roughly 65% of Starbucks partners in these elections have not voted at all.
“Going forward it will be important for all of you to recognize that outside labor unions are attempting to sell a very different view of what Starbucks should be. In stores where any union election occurs, it is important for all partners to have a voice – by voting – because otherwise these important rights may be dictated by what a minority of partners actually support.”
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