The Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) union’s professional-Palestinian social media posts are hurting the coffee chain in additional ways than one, the company alleges. However the union says that’s honest an excuse for Starbucks to hit back at organized labor.
On Oct. 9, the union posted a since-deleted image of a bulldozer tearing down a part of the Israel and Gaza border with the textual lisp “Solidarity with Palestine,” whereas union chapters in Iowa, Chicago, and Boston promoted rallies in crimson meat up of Palestinians.
Complicated the union’s stance for Starbucks’ stance, disappointed customers are confronting workers at Starbucks coffee shops, and sending graphic and angry messages to the company’s customer carrier center, Starbucks alleges. A rising chorus is calling for a Starbucks boycott, too. The company says its acquired more than 1,000 complaints about the union’s post.
To distance itself from the union’s area, Starbucks clarified its stance and despatched the union a cease-and-desist letter to stop the usage of the company’s name and images that resemble its logo. When that yielded no response, Starbucks resorted to filing a lawsuit in Iowa yesterday (Oct. 18).
The coffee chain, which has 34,000 locations worldwide, alleges that social media posts “in crimson meat up of violence in Israel” by the union, which represents around 9,000 baristas from 366 unionized US stores, “have led to property damage, threats, and calls for a boycott.”
Starbucks Workers United sues back
The SBWU hit back with its occupy complaint against Starbucks, filed the same day in federal court in Pennsylvania, saying no person was confusing the company with the union.
The union is accusing the company of defaming it by implying that the union supports terrorism and violence. It says the unauthorized tweet, which was taken down within 40 minutes of posting, didn’t indicate the union supports terrorism.
It’s asking the court to rule that it can continue to exhaust the Starbucks name—which it has been the usage of since August 2021—and a tweaked version of the company’s inexperienced circular logo. That’s the norm for these who sustain in mind the likes of the emblems for the Amazon Labor Union and National Football League Players Association.
Workers stare the litigation as an anti-union ploy.
Quotable: Starbucks vs the union
SBWU on Oct. 17: “Starbucks is in quest of to exploit the ongoing tragedy in the Center East to bolster the company’s anti-union campaign.”
Starbucks on Oct. 18: “Such reckless and reprehensible behavior ought to be addressed via the lens of our partners’ safety and public clarity of Starbucks official area, which condemns the violence in the area. This area is apart from our persisted dedication to fair faith bargaining that we have insisted via a whole lot of requests and unfair labor practice filings.”
A non-exhaustive list of Starbucks union-busting tactics
A shadow of doubt has probably been cast on Starbucks’ intent because of its hostility in the past. The coffee chain isn’t giving unions the representation they crave. Politicians have called the industry out and venerable CEO Howard Schulz participated in a Senate hearing on the matter.
Repeatedly it actively campaigns against labor pressure organization. Some examples consist of:
💸 Raising pay for workers at non-union stores.
☕ Closing cafés the place workers wanted to unionize.
😠 Imposing strict policies around dress code, attendance, leave, free food and beverages whereas working, and more, allegedly to take punitive action against workers attempting to organize.
💼 Overstaffing stores with upcoming unionization votes, bringing on additional workers via transfers or new hires to dilute the pool.
📌 Restricting workers from posting union literature at stores the place the posting of diversified varieties of literature is approved.
🕴 Unannounced visits from management that covertly keeps an eye on union talk, and brazenly presents speeches against them.
🕒 Delaying bargaining.
However, there can be some hope for a reconciliation. Schultz has been vocal about being a staunch opponent of unions however his successor, Laxman Narasimhan, has now no longer made his ideas public yet.
A temporary timeline of Starbucks and the union sparring since the Israel-Hamas battle
Oct. 7: Hamas, Palestine’s ruling party that’s been designated as a terrorist organization internationally, unleashes the deadliest Palestinian attack in history on Israel, killing thousands of civilians. Israel retaliates, killing thousands more.
Oct. 9: Workers United posts an image of a bulldozer tearing down a part of the Israel and Gaza border with the textual lisp “Solidarity with Palestine”—a since-deleted post that Starbucks will allege displays “their crimson meat up for violence perpetrated by Hamas.” The Union chapters in Iowa, Chicago and Boston also promoted rallies in crimson meat up of Palestinians.
Oct. 10: Mary Kay Henry, the president of Workers United’s parent organization Service Employees International Union (SEIU), shares a statement saying the labor crew “stands with all who are struggling, whereas strongly condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia & hate in all forms.”
Oct. 11: Florida senator Rick Scott posts on X, asking of us to “boycott” Starbucks for supporting a terrorist organization and calls upon the leadership to denounce the statements. “In case you amble to Starbucks, you are supporting killing Jews,” Florida state representative Randy Comely chimes in.
Oct.12: Scott says he’s “glad” Starbucks has clarified that it doesn’t endorse Workers United’s statement.
Oct. 13: Starbucks contacts Workers United with a cease-and-desist opinion, demanding they stop the usage of the company’s name, logo, and intellectual property, as well as issue an immediate correction.
Oct. 17: Starbucks chief partner officer Sara Kelly, in a letter updating staff, says union president Lynne Fox has rejected the interrogate, and the company will
have to take legal action.
Oct. 18: The company sues, and the union sues back.