February 28, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Students Rally Against Starbucks: Petitions Demand Removal from Local Campuses

Unified Push Challenges Starbucks Amid Claims of Union-Busting

Students from two local universities, UCLA and UCR, have mobilized to petition the removal of Starbucks stores from their campuses, citing concerns over alleged union-busting tactics employed by the coffee giant, as reported by KTLA 5. The Los Angeles Daily News reported that students in Westwood intended to personally deliver a petition to the board of directors for Associated Students UCLA, bearing 700 signatures urging the termination of the university’s licensing agreement with Starbucks on Tuesday.

This student-driven initiative is a manifestation of solidarity with Starbucks employees nationwide who are asserting their rights amid claims of union-busting practices by the company. The push for unionization has gained momentum on a national scale, with Workers United gaining support from employees at over 300 Starbucks locations, advocating for improved wages, enhanced staffing levels, and consistent scheduling.

Starbucks has faced accusations in recent years of strategically closing stores and laying off employees engaged in unionizing efforts. Following a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, the federal government may compel the reopening of 23 stores, including six in Los Angeles, amid allegations that these closures were orchestrated to impede unionization efforts.

In response to these developments, a Starbucks spokesperson informed KTLA that the closed Los Angeles locations had no employees affiliated with Workers United or were involved in any known union activities. 

The spokesperson emphasized the company’s commitment to respecting employees’ rights to organize, engage in lawful union activities, and bargain collectively without fear of reprisal. The statement underscored Starbucks’ goal of reaching ratified contracts for union-represented stores by 2024.

However, a worker at one of the Los Angeles locations, speaking to KTLA in December, claimed that employee layoffs were administered as punitive measures for engaging in unionization efforts.

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