Starbucks is demanding equal time with President Biden after the White House invited a unionizing barista to fulfill top administration officials — including the commander-in-chief.
Laura Garza, an worker who’s amongst those leading the unionization drive of employees at Starbucks’ Latest York City Roastery, met with Biden on the White House on Thursday.
The president invited Garza and 38 other national labor organizers, including Christian Smalls, who led the successful first-ever unionization of employees at an Amazon facility in Staten Island earlier this 12 months.
Labor organizers representing employees from blue-chip firms akin to outdoors retailer REI and animation studio Titmouse also attended the meeting with Biden.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh convened the meeting, but Biden dropped in unannounced a short while later, in response to the White House.
Starbucks, which is now led by interim CEO Howard Schultz, has been fiercely against efforts by its employees to unionize.
Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh met with dozens of national labor organizers on the White House on Thursday.White House photo via Twitter
In a letter to a top Biden adviser, Starbucks PR chief A.J. Jones slammed the White House for its “lack of representation” and noted that “a majority of our partners (employees) oppose being members of a union and the unionization tactics being deployed by Employees United.”
“We now have a drastically more positive vision for our partners and our company than Employees United,” Jones wrote.
“And our vision relies on listening, connecting, collaborating and interesting directly with our partners.”
Jones lobbied the White House to ask other Starbucks employees who oppose the organized labor drive, which has up to now resulted in successful unionization votes at 50 different locations nationwide.
Biden, the pro-labor president, shook hands with Christian Smalls, the leader of the successful unionization drive at an Amazon facility on Staten Island.
An estimated 200 other Starbucks restaurants are resulting from either hold unionization votes or to listen to the votes counted.
Schultz, who returned to helm the corporate last month after the retirement of previous CEO Kevin Johnson, has met with dozens of baristas and managers at scores of Starbucks locations throughout the country and urged them to oppose unionizing.
Earlier this week, Schultz announced expanded wages and advantages for baristas, including higher hourly pay and increased training, though those perks wouldn’t be prolonged to employees who join unions.
In response to The Wall Street Journal, Starbucks is insisting that unionizing employees negotiate individually for increased advantages.
Starbucks management has sought to move off the rising tide of unionization amongst its worker ranks.AP
Starbucks Employees United Organizing Committee told CNBC: “These advantages, including ones we’ve demanded because the starting of our campaign, are a response to our organizing efforts and we should always have a good time the labor that partners who stood as much as [CEO] Howard Schultz’s bullying put in to make this occur.
“Lots of the proposed advantages have been proposed on the bargaining table in Buffalo.”
Schultz and other top Starbucks executives have accused pro-union baristas of using strong-arm tactics akin to bullying and intimidating colleagues to support the labor drive. Labor organizers deny this, as an alternative accusing the corporate of illegal union-busting.
In response to the pro-labor news site More Perfect Union, Starbucks Employees United has filed greater than 80 unfair labor practice complaints against the corporate.
Starbucks, which owns and operates some 9,000 locations across the US, has been accused of firing pro-union baristas and reprimanding other employees who’ve also been energetic within the organized labor drive.