Senator Bernie Sanders has thrown his support behind workers at 100 Starbucks stores across America – backing those demanding better conditions and the right to form unions.
The 81-year-old self-styled ‘democratic socialist’ was among those backing workers’ calls to boycott the international channel for the duration of the strike.
Participants in the strike, which resulted in the temporary closure of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s local cafe in Seattle, say they are seeking better working conditions and the company is ending what it calls a anti-union habits.
“I stand in strong solidarity with the striking Starbucks workers today,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.
“It’s absurd that Howard Schultz – a guy worth BILLIONS of dollars – is going out of his way to deny decent wages and workplace dignity to the very workers who helped him amass his wealth.”
More than 1,000 baristas at 100 stores plan to walk out, according to Starbucks Workers United, the labor group organizing the effort. The strike will be the longest of the year-long organizing campaign.
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This is the second major strike in a month by American workers at Starbucks. On Nov. 1, employees at 110 Starbucks stores held a walkout day that coincided with the company’s annual Red Cup Day, when the company gives out reusable cups to customers who order a holiday drink.
The union says the strike is aimed at drawing attention to unfair labor practices, including the closing of stores that voted to join the union, such as the first store in the company’s hometown of Seattle to vote for a such union.
“Starbucks Workers United is the labor campaign that has taken the labor movement by storm,” the union says on its website.
“We are a union of Starbucks workers, by Starbucks workers, for Starbucks workers, organized with the support of Workers United. Starbucks workers have formed more new unions in 12 months than any American company in the past 20 years.
“Liberty and Baum is here to demand an end to Starbucks unfair labor practices and union busting in the face of scabs and management!! Get out there and support them if you can,” members tweeted. in a coffee shop in Pittsburgh.
In Seattle, staff at the Madison Park branch, one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods and Mr. Schultz’s home, tweeted. “Madison Park (Howard’s home store) is CLOSED.”
Union leaders believe the efforts of Starbucks workers over the past few years – the first site to unionize was a store in Buffalo, NY, in December 2021 – have inspired people working for other big companies, such as Amazon and Trader Joe’s. Employees at several grocery chain locations voted to unionize this year.