PITTSBURGH, PA — Today, the partners at the Amos Hall Starbucks became the second Starbucks store in Pittsburgh to go public with their demands for a safer, more democratic workplace and file for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board.
Amos Hall 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 9,000 corporate-owned Starbucks locations in the country to successfully unionize. More than 100 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 an open letter to Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson, the Amos Hall Starbucks Organizing Committee outlined their solidarity with the national organizing movement as well as a series of grievances with the company, including the company cutting hours and chronic understaffing.
The Starbucks Organizing Committee wrote the following:
“Pittsburgh has a long standing history of being the epicenter of the labor rights movement. We hope to honor our city’s history by speaking up for what we believe is best for all parties involved. Here at store #27117, we take pride in working at Starbucks, we have found life long friends at Starbucks, and we have created meaningful customer relations while working here.
[...] Starbucks preaches about creating an inclusive and welcoming environment, and inspiring the human spirit. We hope that the influx of unionizing across the country shows Starbucks that we are hoping for a collaboration, and that we are invested in the future of this company.”
The Amos Hall partners are organizing in spite of Starbucks’ outrageous anti-union campaign across the country. In the last week alone, Starbucks Workers United has filed more than 20 Unfair Labor Practice charges against the company for violations of the National Labor Relations Act ranging from a threat to shut down all stores in Buffalo, NY to discriminatory enforcement of policies at other stores.
The Amos Hall partners' full letter to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson reads:
Dear Kevin Johnson,
We, as partners at the Amos Hall Starbucks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have been inspired by the unionizing efforts of partners around the country and within our district in hopes of creating an equal, collaborative relationship between corporate and themselves. We stand in solidarity with our fellow partners, and are proud to notify you of our formal decision to unionize and join our fellow partners in igniting a conversation and partnership that is long overdue.
Pittsburgh has a long standing history of being the epicenter of the labor rights movement, and we hope to honor our city’s history by speaking up for what we believe is best for all parties involved.
Here at store #27117, we take pride in working at Starbucks, we have found life long friends at Starbucks, and we have created meaningful customer relations while working here. The conditions we have been working under within the last several weeks have demolished our work ethic, destroying any essence of a third place. We strongly feel as though corporate is not listening to us: they are cutting hours, failing to deal with concerns regarding upper management, and leaving us incredibly understaffed while we are already facing unparalleled customer wait times.
At Amos Hall, we are home to almost sixty partners, a majority of which are college students or recent graduates with ever-changing, busy schedules, who rely on the hours from Starbucks to pay rent and tuition each semester. Despite our young age, we deserve and demand respect from the company, and feel as though unionizing is the best route to get there. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Workplace rights are human rights”. Our rights in the workplace have been stripped, especially with our district manager consistently in the store to intimidate partners.
Starbucks is experiencing record profits each quarter, all while partners are receiving messages from management discussing a stark decrease in labor hours. The imbalance between corporate and partners must come to end.
We would like to recognize and thank our store manager and interim store manager, Nick Drop and Adrienne Busch, for always being transparent, honest, and a listening ear when we needed them to be. Amos Hall partners are grateful for their efforts, and understand that most situations are out of their hands.
Starbucks preaches about creating an inclusive and welcoming environment, and inspiring the human spirit. We hope that the influx of unionizing across the country shows Starbucks that we are hoping for a collaboration, and that we are invested in the future of this company. As partners at the Huntsman Square Starbucks stated, “we are not against Starbucks; we are for a better Starbucks”.
Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee
4022 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213