Starbucks is calling for equal time with President Biden after the White House invited unionized baristas to meet with top administration officials, including the commander-in-chief.
Laura Garza, an employee who is among those leading the workers’ unionization campaign at Starbucks’ New York City roastery, met with Biden at the White House on Thursday.
The president invited 38 other national labor organizers, including Garza and Christiane Smalls, who led the first successful unionization of workers at an Amazon facility in Staten Island earlier this year.
Labor organizers representing employees of blue-chip firms such as Outdoor Retailer REI and animation studio Titmouse also attended the meeting with Biden.
According to the White House, Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh called the meeting, but Biden fell unannounced a short time later.
Starbucks, now led by interim CEO Howard Schultz, has strongly opposed attempts by its employees to unionize.
In a letter to a top Biden adviser, Starbucks PR chief AJ Jones slammed the White House for its “lack of representation” and said that “most of our allies (employees) oppose being members of a union and reject the unionization strategy.” is being deployed. Workers United.”
“We have a much more positive vision for our partners and our company than for Workers United,” Jones wrote.
“And our vision is based on listening, connecting, collaborating and connecting directly with our partners.”
Jones lobbied the White House to invite other Starbucks employees who oppose the Organized Labor campaign, which has so far resulted in successful unionization votes in 50 different locations across the country.
An estimated 200 other Starbucks restaurants are due to either hold a unionization vote or hear the votes count.
Schultz, who returned to the company last month after the retirement of former CEO Kevin Johnson, met with dozens of baristas and managers at several Starbucks locations across the country and urged them to oppose unionizing.
Earlier this week, Schultz announced expanded pay and benefits for baristas, including higher hourly pay and increased training, though those perks will not extend to workers who join unions.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Starbucks is insisting that unionizing workers negotiate separately for increased benefits.
The Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee told CNBC: “These benefits, which we have sought since the beginning of our campaign, are a response to our organizing efforts and we should celebrate the hard work that the participants put in. [CEO] Howard Schultz’s bullying helped make this happen.
“There are many proposed benefits on the bargaining table in Buffalo.”
Schultz and other top Starbucks executives have accused the pro-union barista of using strong-arm tactics like bullying and intimidating coworkers to support the Labor campaign. Labor organizers denied this, accusing the company of illegal union-busting.
According to the pro-labor news site More Perfect Union, Starbucks Workers United has filed more than 80 unfair labor practice complaints against the company.
Starbucks, which owns and operates about 9,000 locations across the United States, has been accused of shooting pro-union baristas and reprimanding other workers who are also active in the organized labor campaign.