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Boston Starbucks

Workers from the Starbucks at 874 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston and allies pose for a photo on August 7, 2022 during a 64-day strike. (Photo: Boston SBWU/Twitter)

After 64-Day Strike, Boston Starbucks Workers Declare Victory

"When workers join together, they can accomplish anything."

Brett Wilkins

Progressive politicians and activists on Wednesday congratulated unionized workers at a Boston Starbucks who declared victory after a historic 64-day strike.

"This is the power of the picket line and the power of the people."

The declaration by members of Boston Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) said Starbucks agreed to core demands including rescinding arbitrary minimum availability requirements and replacing a store manager accused of cutting hours, understaffing shifts, and "perpetuating harmful and offensive rhetoric with respect to the race, gender, and orientation of both our partners and guests."

Working Mass reports Spencer Costigan, a striking shift manager at the store, said: "I want it to be known that this is a win for workers everywhere. We're setting precedents. We are making known the power that unions have."

Boston SBWU said in a statement:

We want to take a moment to thank every single person who took the time to join us on the picket line, talk to a striking worker, bring us food or water, donate to our strike fund, sign our petitions, and support us every step of the way.

Keeping our picket line alive 24 hours a day for 64 days took a village of supporters, union siblings, friends, and Starbucks workers—we absolutely could not have done this without each and every one of you. We are incredibly inspired by this display of solidarity, and we look forward to supporting y'all in the larger fight for union power.

Some of those who joined the workers on the strike line, or who voiced support for their action, cheered their victory.

"Let me congratulate the Starbucks workers in Boston who won their 64-day strike for fair schedules and decent working conditions," U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted. "When workers stand together and fight for justice, there is nothing they cannot accomplish. I was proud to have stood on the picket line with them."

Hailing Boston SBWU's "huge victory," U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said on Twitter that "this is the power of the picket line and the power of the people."

Massachusetts state Rep. Mike Connolly, a democratic socialist, tweeted that "when we fight, we win!"

Wednesday's win comes less than a week after Starbucks' union-busting management called in police to menace the strikers.

According to Workers World:

For the first time since the strike began July 18, cops were brought in to threaten arrest—on the pretext of alleged trespassing. A Boston Police Department captain and his Special Operations SWAT squad—sporting bulletproof vests and driving arrest wagons—arrived to enforce Starbucks' global "union avoidance" and infamous union-busting law firm Littler Mendelson's menacing of the union.

Strikers and supporters from throughout greater Boston—including a large contingent of the one-month-old Boston University Graduate Students' Union—massed in defiance on the strike line to confront the corporate-instigated police attack.

A spokesperson for Starbucks said in a statement that "no negotiations" occurred with the striking workers, whose return was "unconditional," and that the company favors "moving forward with scheduling collective bargaining sessions with Workers United representatives" from the store.

The Boston SBWU strike occurred during a period of rapid unionization by Starbucks workers around the United States. Employees at more than 200 of the company's U.S. locations have voted to unionize since last December.

Another recently unionized Massachusetts Starbucks in Watertown staged a weeklong strike earlier this month over problems with a new manager, including staffing issues and for allegedly allowing a staff member to be openly transphobic and sexist.

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