Campus, City, News

Commonwealth Avenue Starbucks on strike again during Red Cup Day

Starbucks on strike
The Starbucks at 847 Commonwealth Avenue on strike for “Red Cup Day” today. Workers at Starbucks locations across the country went on strike today to fight for union contract negotiations. ANDREW BURKE-STEVENSON/DFP STAFF

Workers at over 100 Starbucks locations across the United States went on strike yesterday to call on Starbucks to engage in union contract negotiations — including the location at 847 Commonwealth Avenue that was on strike for 64 days this past summer.

Starbucks held its Red Cup Day Nov. 17, offering a limited edition reusable red cup to customers who purchase a specialty holiday drink. 

Taylor Dickerson, a barista at the Starbucks 847 Commonwealth Ave. location and regional organizer for Starbucks Workers United, said Red Cup Day is very chaotic and busy because of the popularity of the promotion.

“We are really understaffed,” she said. “So it’s a big issue because if you’re dealing with all this chaos, and you’re understaffed, it’s just so hard to manage. It makes our job really difficult.”

Dickerson said her hours were cut from 35-40 hours a week down to 18-20 hours a week prior to the strike over the summer, but even now she said her store’s manager has been changing the store hours, making scheduling hard for student workers. 

Dickerson said the point of the strikes was to shine light on Starbucks’ practices and “hit them in the profits” to get their attention.

Starbucks partners at 847 Comm. Ave returned to work last September following their 64 day strike, however shift managers and union organizers Spencer Costigan and Nora Rossi said some of the union’s demands were not met.

“When we returned to work, it turned out that they had lied about removing Tomi (the manager),” Costigan said. “And rather than cutting hours in the same way that they had been doing prior, they have instead cut our entire store’s hours.”

Rossi said Starbucks corporate keeps “flirting” with the idea of bargaining over union contracts, and that Starbucks stands up and leaves minutes into these meetings to negotiate contracts.

starbucks strike
(Left to right) Spencer Costigan, Starbucks worker and striker and Sophia Gaunt, a Boston University student and Starbucks employee, grabbing union-branded red cups. Customers can receive a limited edition reusable red cup if they buy a holiday drink on “Red Cup Day.” ANDREW BURKE-STEVENSON/DFP STAFF

She said Starbucks corporate has also delayed the process by “making up false claims of unfair labor practices.” Costigan also said Starbucks corporate walked out on negotiations over fears that onlooking union partners were recording negotiations while on Zoom. 

“It’s like dragging a child, a petulant child, kicking and screaming to school because they have to go to school,” Costigan said.

A Starbucks spokesperson wrote in an email the company respects the workers’ right to protest and remains dedicated to creating a Starbucks that “works for everyone.”

“In those stores where partners have elected union-representation, we have been willing and continue to urge the union to meet us at the bargaining table to move the process forward in good faith,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

Some of the demands the union workers hope to see met include a $24 wage for baristas, better healthcare, consistent scheduling, better staffing and more respect in the workplace.

“We’re just really tired of all the crap they’ve been throwing our way,” Rossi said. “All we want to do is bargain in good faith which is what they’re legally obligated to do now that we’ve unionized.”

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