Former Starbucks CEO addresses Buffalo-area workers amid union pressure | Business premises

Michelle Eisen, local Starbucks partner and member of the SBWorkersUnited organizing committee, talks about the fight for unionization at Starbucks.

Schultz’s visit came just days before workers at three Buffalo-area stores – Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, Genesee Street in Cheektowaga, and Camp Road in Hamburg – received ballots to start voting in the event. a union election that has important implications for one of the biggest food chains. If employees unionize with Workers United, the three Buffalo stores would become the first company-owned Starbucks stores in the United States to do so.

“We have the capacity to do it; we have already proven it,” said Gianna Reeve, Hamburg store shift supervisor and member of the Starbucks Workers United organizing committee. “We’ve proven that by the fact that we’re standing outside a Hyatt right now, waiting to speak with Howard Schultz. It’s crazy.”

Reeve and James Skretta, also a member of the organizing committee and barista at Starbucks on Sheridan Drive in Amherst, spoke to reporters outside the hotel, then planted signs that read “Starbucks Customers For A Starbucks Union ”In front of the hotel and across the street before going to the event.

A Starbucks employee at 2730 Delaware Ave. hands out $ 5 gift cards to customers arriving after closing at 3pm on Saturday, November 6, 2021. Customers on the left are Nichols Students Cameron Amici, Lauren Bard, Emma Covelli and Jaden Salle.

Sharon Cantillon

And while a 5:21 am Saturday email from a Starbucks executive, which revealed Schultz was the guest of the event, called such a gathering a “long-honored Starbucks tradition,” Reeve and Skretta viewed the event as the company’s reaction to their union campaign. .

Schultz, who was president and CEO of Starbucks from 1986 to 2000 and then from 2008 to 2017, has spoken out against unions in the past.

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