Starbucks Workers United scores major victory in fight for collective bargaining agreements

Seattle, Washington - The Starbucks Workers United movement is celebrating a major victory after the coffee chain agreed to a path forward in bargaining with the union.

Starbucks has agreed to pursue collective bargaining agreements with unionized stores in a major win for the US labor movement.
Starbucks has agreed to pursue collective bargaining agreements with unionized stores in a major win for the US labor movement.  © SAUL LOEB / AFP

"During mediation discussions last week for the ongoing brand and IP litigation, it became clear that there was a constructive path forward on the broader issue of the future of organizing and collective bargaining at Starbucks," the coffee company said in a statement.

"Starbucks and Workers United have agreed to begin discussions on a foundational framework designed to achieve both collective bargaining agreements for represented stores and partners, and the resolution of litigation between the union and the company."

As a "sign of good faith," Starbucks also agreed to extend benefits it announced in May 2022 – including credit card tipping – to unionized stores. The company's previously refused to grant these benefits to stores that had or were in the process of organizing, sparking renewed accusations of union busting.

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The latest victory for workers came after over two years of stalled negotiations. It paves the way for the nearly 400 US Starbucks stores that have voted to unionize to achieve collective bargaining agreements that address issues around wages, benefits, staffing, and workplace safety.

Since the first US Starbucks won its union election in Buffalo, New York, in December 2021, the Seattle-headquartered company has faced numerous complaints of unlawful anti-worker activity from the National Labor Relations Board.

The company's repressive actions have not slowed the union movement, which continues to rack up election wins at cafés across the country.

Cover photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP

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