Top Starbucks executives are really butt-hurt about the so-far overwhelmingly successful union organizing drive in their stores. In a leaked video call with managers, CEO and founder Howard Schultz included the company’s own employees in a list of “obstacles and challenges” the company has “managed to overcome,” describing them as “a new outside force that’s trying desperately to disrupt our company.”
These are Starbucks workers, and they are voting overwhelmingly for a union in which they are the driving force. Workers at the Seattle Roastery, by the way, voted to unionize on Thursday, 38 to 27. There are three large “roastery” locations in the U.S., and this is the second of those to vote yes.
Rossann Williams, the company’s president for North America, repeatedly called on managers to ignore what they’re seeing on social media, flatly denied any union-busting (while describing, in veiled terms, her own role in that union-busting) despite multiple National Labor Relations Board charges against the company, and called it “heartbreaking for me to see and hear how some partners are talking about the company that I love.” Managers’ “number one responsibility,” according to Williams? Persuading workers to vote against unionizing. Not that there’s a union-busting campaign going on.
A union activist fired from a Buffalo Starbucks responded:
“okay rossann, i sat and spoke to you one on one and told you i wanted a union. i asked you why you were here in buffalo and you said to improve the partner experience. you assured me i wouldn’t experience retaliation yet i was fired march 4th. starbucks is breaking the law.”