Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Demonstrators protest Starbucks union-busting

Demonstrators hold signs while protesting in front of a Starbucks location in New York City on April 14, 2022. (Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

'Blatant Act of War': Workers Fight Back as Starbucks Moves to Close Unionized Shop

"This is clearly retaliation for our small grasps at dignity as workers," said one employee at the Ithaca, New York store.

Jake Johnson

Starbucks workers are accusing company management of illegally retaliating against labor organizing by moving to shut down an Ithaca, New York shop that voted to unionize in April.

Workers United, an SEIU affiliate representing Starbucks workers, filed a complaint Friday urging the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to pursue a court injunction to prevent the store closure, which is not the first time Starbucks has halted operations at a shop engaged in union activity.

"Our 100+ union stores are proof positive that there is an army of partners that won't let Starbucks bully us."

"It is a clear attempt to scare workers across the country by retaliating against its own employees," the Workers United bargaining committee argued in the filing, submitted days ahead of the shop's set closure date of June 10.

Gary Bonadonna Jr., executive vice president of Workers United, called the planned store closure a "blatant act of war" against Starbucks workers.

"We have their backs," he added.

Starbucks' move came after workers at the College Ave. shop went on strike in mid-April, alleging unsafe working conditions stemming from an "overflowing grease trap."

In an email to Workers United obtained and published Sunday by the progressive outlet More Perfect Union, Alan Model—an attorney with Littler Mendelson, the notorious law firm that Starbucks has brought on to assist its union-busting campaign—cited the grease trap as one of the reasons for the impending store closure.

"Trying to operate in that store is certainly not providing the level of partner experience you deserve or the level of costumer experience our customers expect," Model wrote. "We'd like to engage in bargaining with Workers United as soon as possible to discuss the impact of the store's closing on its partners."

Workers, however, were quick to dismiss that rationale as a mere pretext for shuttering a unionized shop, one of a many aggressive tactics that Starbucks has turned to in an effort to blunt union momentum. The NLRB has filed a number of complaints against Starbucks, including one last month that accuses the company of violating federal labor law more than 200 times.

In the face of mounting hostility from the coffee company's management, more than 100 Starbucks locations across the U.S. have voted to unionize since historic victories in Buffalo in December spurred a nationwide organizing drive.

"This is clearly retaliation for our small grasps at dignity as workers, but our strike showed them what power we have," Benjamin South, an employee at the Ithaca shop, said in a statement. "Taking a corporation to task is unprecedented, but our 100+ union stores are proof positive that there is an army of partners that won't let Starbucks bully us."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo