Workers at all seven of the unionized Starbucks in Eugene, of a total of eight stores in the city, went on strike earlier this week. This is a continuation of the actions taken last week that started with a strike by the 29th & Willamette worker to bring the company to the bargaining table, stop union busting disciplining, and more. On Wednesday workers from Starbucks across the city along with community allies rallied at the store on Franklin & Villard.
It all started when workers at 29th & Willamette decided to go on a weeklong strike on August 8, with the Franklin store workers deciding to strike on Wednesday of that week. Ian Meagher, a worker and organizer at the Franklin store, describes the Willamette workers as the firecrackers of the district, which includes all eight shops in Eugene plus a store in Coos Bay and a store in Junction City. Organizers at the Willamette. On Wednesday of last week, workers at West 11thsuddenly walked out when they had enough of their poor working conditions. This came right after the manager at the W 11th store threatened to fire them if they were to go on strike.
“Within the last two months, our managers tactics have changed entirely. And it seems like his method along with the methods of a lot of management across the country is to start finding petty reasons to discipline people and eventually get them on their final written warning and then fired so that you can get a whole new turnover, new people who aren’t aware of their rights and won’t be able to bargain for a contract in time,” Quentin Piccolo a worker at the Starbucks on 29th & Willamette said.
Quentin adds that at the 29th & Willamette Store the manager has fired two people in roughly the last month. He adds that the manager has been enforcing dress code that has never been enforced before.
Last weekend workers got together, holding a meeting with a representative from each unionized store, and they came up with a plan to have every unionized store go on strike this week. On Monday six stores were on strike and by Tuesday at 11 AM, workers at all seven unionized stores were on strike. Organizers say that Aug 8-17, nearly 200 Eugene Starbucks workers that had gone strike and they estimate that they deprived the corporation of about $200K.
Joining them on the picket line was a wide array of community supporters. Union support included GTFF, EEA, Teamsters, and SEIU. Eugene DSA and Eugene HAND also joined in. Organizers told Solidarity News that DSA had been “immeasurably helpful” from providing supplies, a canopy, and more.
Starbucks has been on a harsh anti-union campaign since workers in Buffalo began the union wave with an election win last year. The company has fired organizers, closed shops, and cut workers’ hours across the country, all with the hopes of quashing the union. They upped their efforts on Monday when they petitioned the NLRB to pause all union elections, arguing in a Trumpian manner that there had been misconduct in elections. Starbucks Workers United scored a win yesterday, when a federal judge ordered the company to reinstate the workers they fired in Memphis, known as the Memphis 7.
Workers locally at the Pioneer Parkway location in Springfield are in the middle of their union campaign. The NLRB will be sending out ballots Aug 30 and counting them on Sep 20.