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Support the Starbucks Unionization campaign

Unionization efforts that began at a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, in late 2021 are now spreading around the country. While Starbucks thinks of itself as progressive, its front-line retail workers earn well below a living wage. For example, Starbucks baristas in Virginia earn only $12 per hour. And those underpaid baristas are working hard. Starbucks’ comparable in-store sales jumped 21% in fiscal 2021. Meanwhile, Starbucks is highly profitable. Its earnings per share jumped from $0.79 per share in 2020 to $3.54 per share in 2021. Starbucks’ now-retired founding CEO reportedly has a net worth of over $4 billion.

Rebuilding our nation’s unions is one way to address these extreme inequalities. In the period when unions were strong in the U.S., they helped reduce income inequality. The decline in union membership has been accompanied by a sharp increase in income inequality.

Starbucks employees at various stores around the country, including some in Virginia, have now expressed their desire to join a union, Workers United – SEIU. In response, Starbucks has launched an aggressive campaign designed to thwart unionization, including a massive public relations campaign and the alleged firing of some union organizers.

The ability to freely join a union is a fundamental human right and an essential feature of any democratic society. By bringing workers’ voices into the management conversation, unionization can benefit the corporation that employs union workers and their customers as well as the workers themselves.

However Starbucks may describe itself, a corporation is not “progressive” if it tries to bar its workers from collective bargaining. To be true to its professed values, Starbucks must cease its anti-union campaign, pledge neutrality on unionization, and allow its workers to decide freely for themselves whether to organize.

Thus far, Starbucks’ anti-union campaign has not been successful. But the struggle is just beginning. We can further the values of our community – justice, equity, and inclusion – by supporting the union cause.You can help the workers by going to a store that has filed for a union election and when you order, giving your name as  “Union yes.” The closest such store is at 7475 Huntsman Blvd. in Springfield. Please note that certain worker protections are in place for stores that have filed for union membership, and only use the pro-union name at those stores that have filed. You can also demand that Starbucks end its anti-union campaign by signing this petition.

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