Today, on the heels of Bloomfield’s unanimous vote to become the first unionized Starbucks in Pennsylvania, the partners at store #7284, Penn Center East, have filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. Penn Center East joins partners across the City (Amos Hall, East Carson St, Craig St, Market Square, McKnight Road - Northbound), for six total Pittsburgh locations still awaiting elections for union representation at the company.
The Pittsburgh store joins a national wave of Starbucks stores that have begun organizing since workers at two Buffalo locations won their elections last year, becoming the first of 8,000 corporate-owned Starbucks locations in the country to successfully unionize. More than 200 Starbucks locations throughout the U.S. have now petitioned for union elections, with many additional stores actively organizing to prepare to file for elections.
In open letters to Starbucks’ Interim CEO Howard Schultz, the Penn Center East Starbucks Organizing Committees admonished the company’s ongoing union busting and outlined a series of grievances with the company.
The Penn Center East Starbucks Organizing Committee wrote the following:
“Starbucks has always been ahead of the curve in ethics, workers’ benefits, and encouraging change for the better. Recent events have disregarded partners on the frontline; the company has chosen profit over its workers.
[...] With the cost of living and the current climate of the world, we believe that Starbucks should stand up for its partners and provide us with what we deserve. The intent of listening does not do anything if we are not believing each other. We want to be involved in the decisions being made for us. That’s what we believe it means to be a partner.”
Pittsburgh partners are organizing in spite of Starbucks’ outrageous anti-union campaign across the country, in the hopes of joining the 20 national locations who have successfully voted to unionize. Numerous Pittsburgh stores have already seen retaliatory action from Starbucks management.
The Penn Center East Starbucks Organizing Committee's full letter reads:
Interim President and CEO
Starbucks Support Center
Seattle, Washington, United States
Dear Mr. Schultz,
We, the Organizing Committee, are writing on behalf of the store #7284. Penn Center East is located on William Penn Highway in Wilkins Township in the city of Pittsburgh, PA. We have been inspired by the movement of our neighboring locations and the country to stand in solidarity. We are writing to inform you of our allied efforts and intent to unionize.
Our team believes in the value of Starbucks. Many of us work here because we see ourselves in the diverse teams. We find strength, safety, and security in being a part of a company that claims it stands for its partners. As partners, we love giving back to our communities. We share our daily lives with customers, collect donations for great causes, providing a third place for our customers. One neighborhood at a time is—and will always be— our goal. That being said we deserve the same respect.
While Starbucks has always been ahead of the curve in ethics , workers’ benefits, and encouraging change for the better, recent events have disregarded partners on the frontline. The company has chosen profit over its workers. We are here to say we don’t support this, and we will be heard.
Starbucks claims to pride itself on hearing our voices. However this month has proven otherwise. Labor cuts have resulted in hours being taken away from partners, causing financial stress and inability to meet hours for insurance, school, etc. We are being told our availability suddenly doesn’t meet the needs of the business while simultaneously having our hours cut. With the cost of living and the current climate of the world, we believe that Starbucks should stand up for its partners and provide us with what we deserve. The intent of listening does not do anything if we are not believing each other. We want to be involved in the decisions being made for us. That’s what we believe it means to be partner.
We will continue to uphold Starbucks’s missions and values because have always believed in it. We hope that Starbucks will support our legal right to unionize.
Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee, partners and others who wish to remain anonymous.