© Reuters. A single use coffee cup inside a Starbucks in London, Britain, March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Starbucks Corp has asked for a meeting with President Joe Biden’s administration after unionized workers talked to White House officials on Thursday, saying in a letter that most of its employees do not want to be members of a union.
In the letter, which was dated Thursday and released publicly on Friday, the company said it was “deeply concerned” that Workers United, which is organizing hundreds of U.S. Starbucks (NASDAQ:) locations, “was invited to the meeting while not inviting official Starbucks representatives.”
The White House declined to comment.
On Thursday Biden met with workers and labor organizers seeking to represent workers at Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:), Starbucks and other employers.
Attendees included Christian Smalls, who heads the Amazon Labor Union, and Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.
“We believe this lack of representation discounts the reality that the majority of our partners oppose being members of a union and the unionization tactics being deployed by Workers United,” Starbucks senior vice president of global communications AJ Jones II said in the letter. The coffee chain refers to its baristas and other employees as partners.
“We have a drastically more positive vision for our partners and our company than Workers United. And our vision is based on listening, connecting, collaborating and engaging directly with our partners,” it said.
Workers at more than 50 U.S. Starbucks cafes have elected to join the Workers United union, while five stores voted against the union, out of roughly 240 altogether that have sought to hold elections since August.
On Thursday, Senate Budget committee chairman Bernie Sanders held a hearing on Amazon’s labor practices and last month praised Starbucks employees https://richmond.com/news/local/in-richmond-visit-sanders-calls-unionizing-starbucks-employees-heroes-and-heroines/article_52dca276-60a1-57b0-9170-f48fa0ef3a6b.html seeking to unionize cafes. “You are standing up for justice, standing up for dignity and helping to revitalize the trade union movement in this country,” Sanders said.