After a weekend strike over working conditions, pay, and benefits, the Hopewell Starbucks workers were back brewing coffee on Monday morning after receiving a rousing vote of support.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, in a statement on Twitter called the Hopewell strike “a wake-up call” for the corporation.
“They don’t deserve unfair pay and slashed hours,” said the Governor. “They deserve the ability to earn enough to take care of themselves and their loved ones.”
The Starbucks employees in Hopewell were the first in the State to vote for unionization back in April and saw other municipalities follow their lead. Starbucks Workers United New Jersey is the organization that advertised the strike on social media. According to their website, the national organization is a worker-led unionizing effort SWU is “a collective of Starbucks Partners across the United States who are organizing our workplaces with the support of Workers United Upstate, a union with experience building barista power.”
“We believe that the best way to truly inspire and nourish the human spirit is to organize for greater justice, greater equality, and a greater vision of what life can be for Starbucks workers across the United States and for workers in the coffee and restaurant industry,” according to the SWU website.
“As Starbucks Workers United, we are organizing a union to bring out the best in all of us,” reads the website. “Our organizing committee includes Starbucks partners from across the United States. Many of us have invested years of our lives at Starbucks, while others have recently become partners. We all have one thing in common — we want the company to succeed and we want our work lives to be the best they can be.”
“I have always hated the term ‘the economy is going so well’ because more times than not it means millionaires and billionaires are making record profits,” stated employee Hailey Kenney while picketing outside the Hopewell Starbucks location. “It never means I can comfortably pay my bills.”
In a letter penned by Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz on July 29, 2022, he laid out the principles necessary to reinvent the company to better align with the times.“It’s clear we’re living in a changing world where economic, societal, and operational pressures are colliding,” stated Schultz in the letter. “We’re seeing unprecedented cultural division and economic trauma – all while navigating a pandemic, and it seems as though every day there is a new crisis to address.”
“All of this affects our partners. All of this affects Starbucks as a company. And all of this deeply affects millions of customers who visit our stores every day,” continued Schultz. “Our stores serve as windows into America and through them we see the magnitude of the hardships and the ways in which people’s needs are changing.”
“However, like so much of the world right now, the Starbucks business as it is built today is not set up to fully satisfy the evolving behaviors, needs and expectations of our partners or customers,” said Schultz. “It is not designed for the future we aspire to for ourselves and the communities in which we serve.”
Starbucks confirmed in an email statement from a spokesperson for the company, that their Hopewell employees were striking.
“Starbucks has great partners and we value their contributions,” stated the spokesperson. “We respect our partners’ right to engage in any legally protected activity or protest without retaliation. We are grateful for each partner who came into work and we always do our best to listen to the concerns of all our partners.”
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