On Wednesday, March 22, Starbucks employees across the nation went on strike ahead of a company shareholder meeting.
Workers took to the streets in more than 40 cities.
Workers United, the baristas’ union, has organized the strike in an effort to protest against alleged unfair labor practices and use of union-busting tactics.
They timed the strike to fall on “Founder’s Day,” an invented holiday by the coffee chain intended to honor CEO Howard Schultz. Schultz made an announcement on Monday that he would be stepping down two weeks early. He has been replaced by Laxman Narasimhan, the owner of Durex and Lysol.
The strike follows a ruling earlier this month from Judge Michael Rosas, who declared that Starbucks violated federal law in “egregious and widespread” ways in their attempted to stop unionization in Buffalo, NY
Almost a year and a half ago, the first coffee store in the chain unionized in Buffalo. Since then, attempts at unionization have proven successful at hundreds of other locations. Over 400 Starbucks locations across the country have launched their own unionization efforts.
However, over the past year, Starbucks has closed down multiple locations, some of which were either unionized or reportedly in the process of forming a union. The company then fired more than 100 union leaders, some of whom were only given their jobs back after a federal judge ordered the company to do so. Finally, when Starbucks representatives met with union reps and members last October, after months of continuous delays, they then walked out after only a few minutes, stating that they did not approve of the fact that some union members had called in over Zoom.
Former Starbucks CEO Schultz is being held to account for his direct involvement in alleged union-busting tactics. Although he has stepped down, he will still have to appear in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.