NLRB, Starbucks, and Us

By David Miller-Glick and Tara Ruby

Workers are winning, and the government is taking notice. On August 25 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that if employers interfere with a unionization election, the new union will officially be recognized. This an exciting improvement; until now, the NLRB would force a redo of an election, which was advantageous for employers who weren’t above using intimidation tactics.

         Pro-union baristas at Starbucks could directly benefit from this ruling. These workers have been pushing to unionize with the Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) since 2021 and have been the target of corporate retaliation ever since. The NLRB has levied over 100 cases against Starbucks for infractions such as firing pro-union employees and closing newly-unionized shops.

Despite Starbucks’ union-busting, over 360 stores have unionized – including our local Lincoln Highway Starbucks. It is the first Starbucks to unionize in Lancaster County. Our local SBWU baristas have provided you and I with some quick and easy ways to show solidarity: 

         Sign the No Contract, No Coffee pledge. As of now, the SBWU baristas in Lancaster are not calling for a boycott, but signing this pledge shows that you are one of many people who support the SBWU and their demands. The pledge also gives an option to receive campaign updates. Share the pledge across social media; the more signatures, the better!

         If you notice a Starbucks worker wearing a union pin, let them know that you support them. These workers risk corporate retaliation simply because they believe in fair wages and safe work environments.  Let them know that you support unions and that you have their back if they ever need public support. If you’re in a union, let them know that your union supports them as well! Even a short, positive interaction can be a source of encouragement.

Starbucks workers have a long fight ahead of them, but we can help them win a fair contract by acting in solidarity. The pro-union ruling by the NLRB is a win for any barista working to organize their store, and could help revitalize a push for unionization that Starbucks Corporate has been trying to repress for years. Thanks to the store on Lincoln Highway East, we can join with them on our own home turf.

To get involved and support the labor movement in Lancaster County, join Lancaster Stands Up!