Santa Cruz Starbucks workers rally, strike over ‘unfair labor practices’ and ‘union busting’ efforts

Santa Cruz continues to be at the center of unionizing efforts among workers for the coffee giant. Young organizer Joseph Thompson remains at the center of those efforts.

Santa Cruz Starbucks workers began a three-day strike early Saturday morning over what they believe are unfair labor practices, including the company “announcing unilateral changes to hours, discriminatorily denying wage and benefit improvements that it has implemented at stores that have not yet formed a union, and interfering with our right to post and distribute union literature.”

This is the latest in a series of moves over recent months that has made Santa Cruz the epicenter of unionizing efforts with America’s coffee giant. The workers won their union election on May 11.

As three Santa Cruz Starbucks stores lead much of the chain unionizing in California, local leader Joseph Thompson cites...

They held a rally on Saturday afternoon at the store at 745 Ocean St., with more than 50 people in attendance.

“Starbucks says it values dignity and respect, but it allows our store manager to treat us rudely and inconsiderately. Shame on Starbucks, shame on you, Howard Schultz, shame on store managers who participate in union busting,” said Joe Thompson, who is a shift supervisor at the Ocean and Water store and a Starbucks Workers United Organizer. “We are organizing to improve the world and the conditions at our stores, and Starbucks must allow us to without fear of retaliation.”

Starbucks workers have held more than 55 different strikes in at least 17 states. The National Labor Relations Board is currently processing more than 250 unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks, according to Thompson.

“Far too long have we waited for Starbucks to respond to our bargaining/negotiation requests. Far too long have baristas at Ocean and Water and all across the state been targets of Starbucks’ union-busting campaign,” said Noel Bennett, who is a shift supervisor at Ocean and Water and Starbucks Workers United Organizer. “We, the unionized workers at Ocean and Water, ask for Starbucks to immediately begin to bargain with us in good faith. Remember, in order to bargain in good faith, you must be willing to bargain at all. Starbucks, we are waiting on you.”

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