Starbucks Union To Greet New CEO Laxman Narasimhan With Strike At About 100 Cafes


New York: Unionized Starbucks Corp. baristas plan to welcome their new chief executive officer with strikes at about 100 cafes, demanding that the company drop its alleged antiunion coercion.

The work stoppage, which organizers said will involve stores in more than 40 US cities, is the union Starbucks Workers United’s latest effort to force a pivot by the coffee giant. Since scoring an initial landmark victory 15 months ago in Buffalo, New York, the union has prevailed in elections at around 290 of the company’s roughly 9,000 corporate-owned US cafes. But the pace of new unionization petitions has slowed down, as workers allege the company has been retaliating in stores and stonewalling them at the bargaining table.

Starbucks said earlier this week that that it offers industry-leading benefits and that it respects employees’ right to organize and protest, but believes having a direct relationship with staff is core to its culture.

The company has said repeatedly that all claims of antiunion activity there are “categorically false.” Starbucks has accused the union of failing to fairly negotiate, and has said US labor board officials are trying to use cases against it to establish new precedents that would change existing labor law.

Striking baristas from Oregon and Washington state plan to converge for a midday protest outside Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.

“Thousands of workers who unionized their stores across the country deserve a real seat at the table and we’re going to keep fighting until we get that seat,” Philadelphia barista Lydia Fernandez, who is striking Wednesday, said in a statement from the union. “We will continue with that demand regardless of who the CEO is.”


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