By Jordan Zakarin
The vast majority of Americans, including most Starbucks customers, say they support Starbucks workers in their effort to unionize and bargain for better pay and working conditions, according to the first national public opinion survey about the Starbucks organizing drive.
Roughly 2,000 Starbucks workers at more than 100 locations across the country have filed union petitions with the NLRB since late August, when staffers at three Starbucks stores in Buffalo announced their intent to organize with the Workers United union.
The poll, conducted by Blue Rose Research on behalf of More Perfect Union, surveyed 2,515 individuals about the ongoing fight between Starbucks management and its unionizing workers.
Nationally, 67% of people agreed that Starbucks workers “need a union in order to have a better opportunity at higher pay and benefits, worker safety and fair schedules.”
Four in 10 respondents said they had shopped from Starbucks within the past six months, and of those people, 69% said they supported the workers’ organizing campaign.
Just 47% of respondents nationally said they agreed with Starbucks management’s argument that unions “create tension in the workplace and make it harder to do business.”
Demographic groups that had the most favorable opinions of Starbucks generally were also the most supportive of Starbucks workers organizing. Starbucks was viewed favorably by more than 70% of respondents who are women, Asian, Black, Latino, and/or 18-34 years old, and at least 70% of each of those groups also supported the union drive.
Support for the organizing workers was lowest among self-reported 2020 Trump voters, but even among that group, a majority of respondents (53%) said that Starbucks workers needed a union.
A majority of Starbucks employees at two locations in Buffalo voted to join Workers United in December after an intense three-month anti-union campaign waged by Starbucks and consultants at the union-busting law firm Littler Mendelson. Since the twin victories in Buffalo, workers have been filing to unionize their stores in droves, earning national headlines for one of the largest organizing campaigns in years.
Starbucks has continued to pressure workers with increased management presence, cut hours, relentless text messages, and punitive measures. Earlier in February, the company broke protocol to fire seven members of the nascent union in Memphis, including the entire organizing committee.