Economics/Class Relations

Five-week Starbucks strike encampment – young workers’ movement faces down Boston police

By Steve Gillis Workers World

The longest strike in Starbucks’ history, at Boston’s 874 Commonwealth Ave. shop, concluded its fifth week Aug. 21 with solidarity appearances by Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson and Senator Bernie Sanders. A movement of young workers and veteran unionists in Boston that coalesced to support the striking baristas has grown more determined than ever to see it through to victory.

The strike that began July 18 — just five weeks after the workers’ landslide National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) union vote — was provoked by a new openly-Trumpite store manager sent in from southern New Hampshire. This manager’s union-busting agenda included slashing workers’ hours to below the level to qualify for benefits and constant racist, homophobic and transphobic interactions, like removing the rainbow Pride flag — an affront to the many LGBTQ2S+ workers.

Starbucks’ Pinkerton machine didn’t expect workers’ defiance to its blatant Unfair Labor Practices at this highly profitable store across the street from Boston University. The same week the Boston strike began, billionaire CEO Howard Schultz — who ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primaries and was announced to be Hillary Clinton’s pick for Labor Secretary in 2016 — launched a massive union-intimidation campaign. He blamed Democratic Party-governed cities for a lack of police to provide “safety” to his stores, while he closed dozens of shops, many of them newly unionized, overnight.


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