Local Starbucks workers strike for two days

Workers at the 29th & Willamette and Franklin & Villard Starbucks stores went on strike in May over the firing of union organizers in the PNW, as well as the exclusion of union stores from new benefits. The Willamette shop went on strike for two days, May 17-18, and the Franklin shop went on strike May 17. Workers at both shops successfully kept both shops closed the entirety of their strikes.

Picket lines were small but held steady support from workers and community supporters throughout the day. Dozens of drivers passing by also showed their support through honking and many of the would-be customers were not apoplectic for being turned away, but instead voiced solidarity with the union.

The strikes in Eugene were held in conjunction with strikes in Olympia, Portland, and Seattle.

Baristas say that Starbucks will make up different excuses to fire the most active union organizers at their stores. They are also disciplining workers for wearing union pins. One worker told Solidarity News that they have been targeting workers that speak out to the media and that they are on their final written notice.

Workers United has filed two charges of unfair labor practices against Starbucks on behalf of workers in Eugene. On April 29th they filed a claim saying that management forced workers to attend meetings to spread anti-union sentiment, saying that unions are useless and implied threats if workers unionized.

“Even absent the specifically unlawful statements made, the repetitious nature of these meetings, which accomplished the Employer’s goal not through the substance of any argument but merely as a demonstration of the Employer’s power over its workers, was inherently coercive with regard to the exercise of Section 7 rights,” Workers United says in their charge.

On May 4, Workers United filed a claim stating that Starbucks illegally fired a worker at the 29th & Willamette store in retaliation for their union organizing. Cases for both charges are still ongoing.