SEIU 1021

Organizing works: Starbucks agrees to come to the bargaining table with unionized workers


For the past several years, Starbucks workers across the country have been fighting to form a union at their stores. The coffee giant has fought viciously against these efforts, spending an estimated $240 billion on union-busting efforts.

Just last week, however, saw a huge breakthrough, as Starbucks and Workers United announced that they have come to an agreement: They’ll begin discussions toward establishing a framework for collective bargaining agreements for stores that have made the decision to unionize. They will also agree on a fair process for Starbucks partners to organize and unionize in the future. Starbucks will also activate credit card tipping and benefits for partners at unionized stores, which had previously been denied to those workers.

SEIU 1021 Vice President of Organizing Brandon Dawkins said, “This announcement is a huge step forward for the workers at unionized stores who are finally going to get credit card tipping. And it just shows that when workers take action, it can bring the bosses to the bargaining table. We’re going to continue our work organizing stores across Northern California, and any time any SEIU 1021 member goes into a Starbucks, I hope they show support for those workers and their fight for a union.”

Melissa Gomez has been with the Highway 4 and Hillcrest Starbucks in Antioch for nearly a year. That store was one of 21 that filed for a union election on the same day last month, and they held a successful sip-in event last week.

She said, “I’m filled with such excitement right now. Being part of a movement like this, knowing we all have each other’s back, it almost doesn’t feel real. This is my first job, and at first, I thought the way management belittled us and talked down to us was normal.

“As we’ve talked together and worked for our union, I’ve realized we need and we deserve a better working space. We’re tired of being scared, and now we know that as long as we have our community with us, it doesn’t matter where we’re starting from, because if we stand together and keep pushing, we can get there — together!”