Starbucks tells union it wants to resume contract negotiations

Starbucks said Friday it wants to return to the negotiating table after a more than six-month impasse with the union that represents more than 9,000 of its workers.

The company proposes that negotiations continue with a set of stores organized in January, said Sara Kelly, vice president and chief partner officer of Starbucks, said in a letter to Lynne Fox, president of Workers United, the parent union of Starbucks Workers United.

“We collectively agree the current impasse should not be acceptable to any of us,” Ms Kelly said in the letter. “This didn’t help Starbucks, Workers United or, more importantly, our partners. In this spirit, we ask for your support and agreement to relaunch the negotiations.

Starbucks said it would like to hold these meetings without audio or video recording “so that all participants are comfortable in open and honest discussions.” The union previously fought to have negotiations held by video conference so that more members could participate.

Ms. Fox said in a statement that the union was reviewing the letter and still determining how to respond. “We never said no to meeting with Starbucks,” she said. “Anything that moves the negotiations forward in a positive way is welcome. »

Starbucks workers began organizing in 2021 at three Buffalo-area stores. Today, more than 350 of the approximately 9,300 company-owned stores in the United States are organized.

During those two years, the coffee giant and its employees clashed over issues ranging from Pride Month decorations to accusations of corporate retaliation. The two parties blame each other for the impasse in negotiations since their last meeting on May 23.

Most recently, employees at more than 200 stores walked out on November 16, Starbucks’ Red Cup Promotional Day.

The union has filed hundreds of complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, complaining of unfair labor practices, including unfair firings and denial of certain health benefits to union workers. The agency itself has sided with workers in many of these disputes.

The company also sued the union over allegations of using the company’s intellectual property in pro-Palestinian messages.