Baristas continue to fight for unionization rights at Valley Starbucks

Some NFL Players showed up in solidarity at a local Starbucks to rally for labor union movement


Ryan Hainey (Flickr)

Starbucks Coffee

Chance LeBlanc, Reporter

Starbucks baristas in the Phoenix region are continuing to let their voices be heard in a long-standing battle to create a workers union.

On Feb. 11, members from the NFLPA, AFL-CIO, and NFL players stood alongside baristas in a rally outside the Starbucks on Indian School Road in Avondale.

One of the main voices at the rally was Resean Clayton, an Organization Specialist for the AFL-CIO and a Navy veteran.

Clayton’s passion, drive, and active voice in the labor union movement was an inspiration for Starbucks employees who were present at the rally.

“The rally was a great show of solidarity and support for Starbucks workers that want to organize. All workers who want to organize and become part of a union should be able to do so without any type of interference from management. February 11th was a great day in the labor movement,” Clayton said when asked what the union rally meant to him.

Naomi Martinez, a shift supervisor at the Avondale store, said that the gathering was a big deal for her and her co-workers.

“To be able to have such a big event at our store and such a big display of solidarity, you could feel the love in the event. It was a huge motivator for me and my entire store.”

In the midst of the ongoing efforts to unionize, multiple Starbucks have gone on strike in hopes to send a strong message to the “union-busting CEO’s” of the company.

Reportedly, Andrew Trull, a spokesperson for Starbucks told Phoenix New Times on Feb. 14, “the company doesn’t engage in anti-union activity. Our focus has, and continues to be working side by side with our partners to listen, learn and reinvent the Starbucks experience.”

Martinez’s store has gone on strike twice, most recently in November, joining more than 100 other stores that went on strike nationally.

“It sent a message to corporate about who really runs Starbucks, because without us there is nothing to run the stores and make money. We are the heart of what makes the company move,” Martinez said.

While Starbucks does not have an official workers union, partners have helped with organizing Starbucks Workers United. An organization of Starbucks partners across the United States who have the support of Workers United Upstate, a notable union with over 9,500 active members helping to “build barista power.”

Starbucks Workers United has more than 6,500 organized partners and over 41,000 union supporters across the country.

Even with the major support nationwide, Martinez knows that this is going to be a hard fought battle until the end.

“It’s a never ending process, we are going to be constantly building and fighting forever. Even when we do get the first contract they are going to be fighting tooth and nail forever against this because it takes a lot of power away from them cutting into their profits.”