Twenty-six New Jersey elected officials signed a letter of support for the recent unionization efforts at Starbucks stores in the state, urging CEO Howard Schultz to adhere to, and sign, the Fair Election Principles.
Starbucks workers organizing a union drive gathered at the Hopewell store on Monday with legislators to support their campaign and other Starbucks union drives across the state.
U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12th Dist.) spoke at the event in solidarity with the workers, who launched their unionization effort in January, as the first New Jersey Starbucks to do so.
“We stand in solidarity with Starbucks workers seeking to organize in our state and our communities,” Watson Coleman said. “New Jersey is stronger when workers have a collective voice in their pay and working conditions.”
Watson Coleman was also one of the 26 New Jersey lawmakers who signed the letter addressed to Schultz.
The letter lists nine fair election principles, including not making any implicit or explicit threats and giving equal space for pro-union materials if anti-union materials are posted on the premises.
“All workers have the right to a union and to a collective voice in the conditions of their own employment,” part of the letter reads. “We believe that these organizing efforts will ultimately lead to a stronger and more sustainable future for Starbucks, the workers, and our State.”
The signatories also include: Donald Norcross (D-1st Dist.); Andy Kim (D-3rd Dist.); Frank Pallone (D- 6th Dist.); Bill Pascrell (D-9th Dist.); Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.); Mikie Sherrill (D-11th Dist.); Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex); Fred Madden (D-Gloucester); Troy Singleton (D-Burlington); Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth); Shirley Turner (D-Mercer); Andrew Zwicker (D-Middlesex); Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex); Joseph Cryan (D-Union); Richard Codey (D-Essex); Brian Stack (D-Hudson); Daniel Benson (D-Mercer); Joseph Egan (D-Middlesex) Herb Conaway (D-Burlington); Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge); Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex); Angela McKnight (D-Hudson); Ellen Park (D-Bergen), Anthony Verrelli (D-Mercer); and Thomas Giblin (D-Essex).
“The pandemic highlighted how the economy has benefited big corporations and the wealthy at the expense of working people,” said Norcross. “All workers should be able to organize for better wages and fair working conditions free of intimidation.”
The organizing committee at the Hopewell Starbucks said they’ve experienced intimidation tactics by management, including captive audience meetings, misleading flyers, and cuts to working hours, which impacts healthcare benefits.
“We’ve seen that Starbucks’ next step will be to start issuing retaliatory employee write-ups, and even firings,” said the organizing committee’s statement. “This kind of aggressive union-busting is unacceptable, and we’re glad that New Jersey elected officials are calling on Starbucks to sign and adhere to the Fair Election Principles.
Union elections are now underway at Starbucks locations nationwide, including in New Jersey, in Hopewell, Summit, and Hamilton.
There are three mail ballot elections taking place, according to Yadhira Alvarez, of Workers United. Ballots went out April 1 for the Hopewell store, and will go out April 7 and 8 for the Summit and Hamilton locations, respectively. The election is being conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.