Starbucks and the union representing its U.S. workers have taken a significant step forward by agreeing to initiate discussions aimed at reaching labor agreements.


The collaboration comes after Workers United successfully organized baristas at a Starbucks store in Buffalo, New York, towards the end of 2021. Since then, workers have voted to unionize at over 370 company-owned Starbucks locations across the country. However, as of now, no labor agreements have been achieved between the workers and the company.

Contentious Process

The road to unionization has been fraught with challenges. There have been instances where federal courts intervened, mandating Starbucks to reinstate employees who were terminated for their involvement in unionization efforts. Moreover, various regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board have lodged around 120 complaints against Starbucks, citing unfair labor practices such as the refusal to negotiate and providing additional benefits exclusively to non-union workers.

Towards Fairness

In a positive gesture, Starbucks has committed to extending benefits, including the option for customers to tip via credit card, to workers in unionized stores. This move underscores the company's willingness to create a harmonious partnership with its employees through constructive dialogue and mutual respect.

Starbucks and Workers United Reach Agreement

Starbucks took the initiative by expressing interest in improving its relationship with the union. In December, the company announced its intention to restart labor negotiations with the aim of finalizing contract agreements by 2024. Prior to this, there had been no communication between the two parties for seven months.

Finding Common Ground

After engaging in discussions last week, both sides acknowledged that there is a promising way forward concerning the broader issue of organizing and collective bargaining at Starbucks.

Resolving Disputes

Starbucks and Workers United have also agreed to address ongoing litigation between them. Last October, Starbucks filed a lawsuit against Workers United following a pro-Palestinian social media post made by a union account during the Israel-Hamas conflict. The post allegedly drew backlash from customers and tarnished the company's reputation. In response, Starbucks insisted that the union refrain from using its name and image. Workers United countered with a defamation lawsuit, claiming that Starbucks accused the union of supporting terrorism.

Moving Forward

Despite the challenges ahead, the development of this framework marks a significant step forward and showcases a shared dedication to cooperation and respect, as stated in the union's announcement. Starbucks echoed these sentiments, signifying a commitment to working harmoniously with Workers United.

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