Dec 06, 2021
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday night will host a town hall with Buffalo, New York Starbucks workers as they attempt to form the first-ever union at the company, whose management has turned to well-worn corporate tactics in its campaign to stamp out the historic organizing drive.
"Young workers are struggling with low wages, high rents, student debt, lack of healthcare, etc. Some of them are fighting back," Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in a tweet promoting the event, slated to begin at 8 pm ET.
The town hall comes a month after the Buffalo-area workers from three separate stores began casting ballots in the union election, an effort that has inspired Starbucks employees elsewhere to launch organizing drives in a push to win higher wages, better benefits, and more sustainable conditions.
The Buffalo workers have until December 8 to submit their ballots by mail. Employees at three additional Starbucks locations in Buffalo filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last month, and employees at a store in Mesa, Arizona have formed a committee to consider unionization.
Watch the town hall live:
Predictably, Starbucks management--including the company's billionaire CEO, Howard Schultz--is fighting hard to prevent the Buffalo workers from unionizing.
"Workers have reported numerous captive audience meetings, one-on-one meetings, store shutdowns, closures, remodelings, and text messages--a mode of contact that was previously used only for emergencies," The Guardian reported last month. "Dozens of corporate executives have flooded stores with the intent to deter workers from voting to unionize, workers say."
On November 4, Starbucks Workers United--the organizing group leading the effort to unionize Buffalo-area Starbucks employees--filed an unfair labor charge with the NLRB accusing the company of conducting unlawful surveillance, issuing threats, and shutting down stores holding union elections.
"Despite Starbucks' vehement anti-union campaign, three more stores--Sheridan & Bailey, Walden & Anderson, and Depew--filed for union elections with the NLRB today!" Starbucks Workers United tweeted on November 9. "We are well on our way to winning the first unionized Starbucks store in the U.S."
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