On Friday, Workers United filed a claim with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Starbucks of illegally shutting down an Ithaca, New York store following unionization efforts there, according to Bloomberg. Now, the labor organization is hosting a ‘Twitter storm’ to draw attention to the company’s alleged union-busting.

The online movement has led to nearly 5,000 tweets with the trending “#ShameOnStarbucks” and “#CollegeAveStrong” hashtags since it began at 12pm EST today.

Workers at the Ithaca Starbucks on College Ave. voted to unionize in April and held a single-day strike in response to unsafe working conditions due to an appliance issue, they said. They were given notice of their store’s closure just one week before its intended closure date.

Workers United organizers have argued that the store closing is retaliation for union organizing, as Ithaca was the first city in the country to unionize all Starbucks locations.

“They’re shutting down college Ave permanently bc we unionized and went on strike. They gave us a notice of ONE week. No way they’ll get away with this,” one Ithaca worker tweeted.

Several other Starbucks Workers United members tweeted in solidarity with the Ithaca workers.

Since the first Starbucks location unionized in Buffalo, New York in late 2021, over 100 stores have voted to unionize—the latest being the first unionized store in Texas. Many more across the county are currently awaiting a union vote.

Amidst the rapid growth of unionizing efforts in Starbucks stores, the company has hoisted its own efforts to work against union efforts. Starbucks says on a website created specifically to inform its workers about the union that it is “best for partners” to vote no on a union ballot. Before the first store unionized last year, Starbucks closed two stores near Buffalo following the workers’ signing of union cards to bring about a vote.

Additionally, Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz announced last month that employees would be receiving new benefits, however, some of these would only apply to stores that have not voted to unionize. While all employees (even those unionizing) will receive wage increases, new additions including expanded training, improved sick leave, and credit card tipping will not apply to unionized stores.

Schulz claimed that Starbucks is not legally required to offer these benefits to organized stores. However, NPR reports that Workers United has also filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB in this instance.

The Daily Dot reached out to both Starbucks Workers United and Starbucks via email.


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*First Published: Jun 4, 2022, 5:39 pm CDT

Laiken Neumann

Laiken Neumann is a freelance journalist based in Austin, Texas, covering culture, entertainment, and social justice.

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