'No contract, no coffee,' Michigan Starbucks stores join national strike

·3 min read

Editor's note: Story updated to include an official statement from Starbucks.

Starbucks workers in Allen Park, Ann Arbor, and Mount Pleasant were among the latest in Michigan to join the national Starbucks strike on Wednesday, demanding better work conditions and union rights.

More than 100 Starbucks stores responded to a call to action from Starbucks Workers United.

"No contract, no coffee," posters were put up on store doors, stating that Starbucks workers were on an unfair labor practice strike across the country, "protesting the company's refusal to bargain a contract in good faith."

The strikes were held a day after Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, stepped down — two weeks earlier than planned. His resignation also came days before he testifies in a March 29 hearing before the U.S. Senate committee about labor practices at Starbucks.

March 22 protest locations in Michigan

  • 23005 Outer Drive, Allen Park

  • 300 S. Main St., Ann Arbor

  • 222 S. State, Ann Arbor

  • 5655 E. Pickard St., Mt. Pleasant

Workers held posters stating, "I want my coffee union made," "Stop illegal union-busting," and " End short staffing."

Starbucks responds to strikes

According to a Starbucks spokesperson, the company respects Starbucks Workers United's "right to organize and to engage in lawful union activities."

"Rather than publicizing rallies and protests, we encourage Workers United to live up to their obligations by responding to our proposed sessions and meeting us in-person to move the good faith bargaining process forward."

Starbucks says they offer beginner hourly baristas an average wage of $17.50 an hour, healthcare benefits, mental health services, paid parental leave, employee stock options, 401k matching and more.

Michigan federal judge orders Starbucks to rehire unlawfully fired worker

A federal judge in Detroit granted a national cease-and-desist order against Starbucks in February and mandated that the company rehires an unlawfully fired Ann Arbor employee, following an injunction issued by the National Labor Relations Board in Detroit. Originally, the cease-and-desist order protected all Starbucks employees from termination due to unionizing, but the action has since been limited to one store.

"The petition explained that Starbucks unlawfully discharged its employee, who was at the time the lead organizer for the union and engaged in protected activities, to discourage its employees from engaging in these activities," according to a news release from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

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The NLRB has listed 513 unfair labor practice charges, opened or settled, against Starbucks and the law firm representing the company, Littler Mendelson P.C.

"Starbucks trains managers that no partner will be disciplined for engaging in lawful union activity and that there will be no tolerance for any unlawful anti-union behavior. Starbucks is also defending the right of its partners to cast secret ballots through in-person, NLRB-supervised voting," according to a statement from Starbucks. "No case initiated by Workers United related to the current organizing campaign has made its way through the entire litigation process, up to and including the federal courts of appeals."

Contact Nour Rahal: nrahal@freepress.com

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: These Starbucks stores in Michigan join national strike