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Photo: Philadelphia City Council Twitter
Photo: Philadelphia City Council Twitter

City Council Supports Philly Starbucks Workers' Union Efforts

City Council passed a resolution supporting Philly Starbucks workers' right to unionize.

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On Thursday March 3, City Council unanimously passed a resolution expressing strong support for Philadelphia Starbucks employees who are attempting to unionize.

Introduced by Councilmembers Kendra Brooks and Helen Gym, the resolution also calls on Starbucks to accept card check neutrality and recognize the union once the majority of the workforce signs a union card.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Jamie Gauthier, Derek Green, Cherelle Parker, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Mark Squilla, and Isaiah Thomas. 

“Philly is a union town. Here, we know that when you lead with solidarity, you win. The diverse group of Starbucks workers fighting for fair representation have our full support,” Brooks said. 

Workers at four Philadelphia Starbucks locations — 3401 Walnut Street, 1900 Market Street, 1945 Callowhill Street and 600 S. 9th Street — have filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to unionize their workplace with Workers United, joining over 110 stores across the U.S.

The four locations cite the need for a union to negotiate better benefits, improved health and safety precautions, adequate staffing in stores, and a livable wage. Starbucks workers across the country have reported Starbucks deploying out-of-town managers to convince workers not to unionize. 

Last week, Workers United filed 20 unfair labor practice charges with NLRB in response to the coffee giant’s anti-union efforts.  

Lua Riley, Starbucks employee at the 9th and South Street location, said during Thursday’s City Council meeting that her and her fellow workers have been essentially forced to listen to “anti-union propaganda” over the last two days. 

“We are thankful to City Council for proposing a resolution to reinforce the backing that we know we have through our labor laws, and hope for continued support in Council in the case that Starbucks commits any more further actions of blatant anti-union behavior,” Riley said. 

In passing this resolution, Philadelphia City Councilmembers join dozens of elected officials across the country who have also expressed their solidarity with Starbucks employees trying to unionize. 

In New York City, 75 lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán, signed a letter urging Starbucks to respect workers’ right to form a union. 

In Seattle, where the company’s headquarters is located, Councilmember Kshama Sawant also passed a resolution expressing firm support for Starbucks Workers United. 

“We’re here to send a message to every worker in this city — if you want to form a union, City Council will have your back. I’m grateful for the support of our entire Council, and we will continue to stand with these workers every step of the way,” said Councilmember Gym. 

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