UCSA Unanimously Approves Resolution Calling UC to Cut Ties with Starbucks for Union Busting


Image by Amanda Parmele for The UCSD Guardian

Mehri Sadri, Staff Writer

The UC Student Association unanimously voted to approve a resolution in support of Starbucks Workers United’s unionization efforts at the UCSA’s monthly board meeting on May 7. The resolution calls for the UC system to cease business with Starbucks due to anti-union tactics and repeated labor law violations.

The resolution, authored by Michelle Andrews, UCSA Government Relations Chair & Labor Relations Officer and David Ramirez, UCSA Government Relations Vice Chair and former Starbucks organizer, details Starbucks’ past involvement within UC campuses and Starbucks employee unionization efforts in early 2022. 

In the resolution, Starbucks corporates’ adverse reactions and conflicts with the National Labor Relations Board are highlighted, as Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz threatened to give raises and increased benefits to non-unionized workers, which is prohibited discrimination per the NLRB. A couple months later, in August 2022, Starbucks was “accused by the NLRB of illegally withholding raises at non-union stores from unionized workers.” 

In December 2022, the NLRB extended support toward Capitol Hill baristas, ruling that Starbucks’ conduct “constitutes an unlawful failure and refusal to recognize and bargain with the union,” demanding for Starbucks to acknowledge national labor rights and begin bargaining with the Starbucks United.

In February, Starbucks was once again found lacking compliance, and NLRB judge John Giannopoulos ruled that the coffee company violated labor laws after a Starbucks representative threatened an end to benefits should employees unionize, similar to CEO Schultz’s condemned favoring towards non-bargaining stores. By March, Starbucks was found guilty of 96 labor law violations in Buffalo, New York alone.

The resolution is concluded by a USCA stance calling for the UC campus systems to cease Starbucks business and operations. More specifically, “UCSA calls on the UC to replace Starbucks with a different supplier immediately and until Starbucks agrees to cooperate with Starbucks Workers United and end the company’s union-busting,” expanding their ask that the UC system ceases contracting “with all anti-union corporations and support fair labor practices in all companies it contracts with.”

As of now, there have been no announcements or proposed plans from the UC system to cease campus Starbucks operations.