Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Protest against Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Activists protest against Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on July 19, 2022 in New York City. In Buffalo on September 6, 2022, Starbucks workers asked community members to join them in protesting the company's union-busting practices. (Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Starbucks Workers Ask People of Buffalo to Condemn Company for 'Disgusting Union-Busting'

Rallying outside 20 Starbucks stores across Buffalo, organizers aim to show the company that "Buffalo is a union town and we won't accept union-busting here."

Julia Conley

Workers at 20 Starbucks locations throughout Buffalo, New York—where the push to unionize the coffee chain's U.S. stores began a year ago—appealed to their community on Tuesday as they rallied to gather support for labor organizers who have been fired by the company in recent months.

"We're not only building a movement for Starbucks workers, we're building a cohesive labor movement."

More than two dozen workers who have been active in unionization efforts have been fired since employees in Buffalo filed for a union election last year, in cities including Memphis, Tennessee; Overland, Kansas; and Buffalo.

"Starbucks has fired 10 union leaders in Buffalo alone," said an organizer on Tuesday, standing outside one of the chain's stores. "Today we're standing on our streets in front of our stores asking our city and our community to stand with us and condemn Starbucks for their disgusting union-busting behavior."

The organizer was joined by one community member holding a sign that read, "Starbucks Customer for a Starbucks Union" and several other supportive Buffalo residents. Workers planned the action for the morning rush, from 7:00 am. until noon and garnered support from Council 66, a local labor union representing 8,500 public employees, and grassroots group Our City Action Buffalo.

The city-wide "informational picket" was aimed at publicizing and protesting what organizers say has been a retaliation campaign by Starbucks and showing the company that "Buffalo is a union town and we won't accept union-busting here," according to Starbucks Workers United.

The pickets follow more than 100 "sip-ins" that organizers held at stores across the country over Labor Day weekend. Supporters of the unionization push were invited to order low-priced items and leave large tips, providing "an opportunity for baristas and their supporters to engage in conversation about labor conditions and build community," according to In These Times.

"We're not only building a movement for Starbucks workers, we're building a cohesive labor movement," Tyler DaGuerre, a Starbucks barista in Boston, told the outlet.

In June, the National Labor Relations Board filed a petition for a federal injunction alleging that Starbucks illegally fired organizers in Buffalo in retaliation for union activity. A ruling has not yet been handed down in the case, but a federal judge in Tennessee recently ordered the company to reinstate several workers who had been fired.

"Starbucks has repeatedly denied firing the Memphis workers for their organizing activity, and this decision... set the record straight," said Starbucks Workers United following the Tennessee ruling. "We will continue holding Starbucks accountable for their vicious and unethical union-busting campaign."


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

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'She's Just Awful': Critics Swing After Sinema Ditches Dems Just Days After Warnock Win

"Apparently 'independent' is the new way to say 'corporate lobbyist,'" said one critic.

Jon Queally ·


Advocates Applaud as FTC Sues to Stop Microsoft-Activision Mega-Merger

Biden's FTC, said one consumer campaigner, "is showing, once again, that it is serious about enforcing the law, reversing corporate concentration, and taking on the tough cases."

Brett Wilkins ·


Press Freedom Champions Renew Call for DOJ to Drop Charges Against Assange

"It is time for the Biden administration to break from the Trump administration's decision to indict Assange—a move that was hostile to the media and democracy itself."

Jessica Corbett ·


Oral Arguments Boost Fears of SCOTUS Buying Theory That Would 'Sow Elections Chaos'

"This reckless case out of North Carolina could explode the unifying understanding that power ultimately rests with the people of this country," one campaigner said of Moore v. Harper.

Jessica Corbett ·


War Industry 'Celebrating Christmas Early' as House Passes $858 Billion NDAA

"There is no justification to throw... $858 billion at the Pentagon when we're told we can't afford child tax credit expansion, universal paid leave, or other basic human necessities," said the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "End of story."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo