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February 26, 2024
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February 26, 2024

Brookline Starbucks workers declared victory

The+logo+of+Starbucks+Workers+United%2C+a+larger+organization+that+organizes+for+worker+representation.
The logo of Starbucks Workers United, a larger organization that organizes for worker representation. Graphic sourced from Starbucks Workers United.

Workers at Brookline Starbucks, located on 874 Commonwealth Ave., staged a 64-day-long strike to protest against nasty working conditions and unfair labor practices. They have been on strike since mid-July, one of the country’s longest documented strikes. The Comm. Ave. Starbucks store was the most recent store unionized, back in June 2022. The workers complained about the store manager threatening termination if “employees did not comply with a newly imposed availability policy.”
After incessant hours of standing their ground and demanding reforms of the working conditions, the workers finally ended the strike on Wednesday, Sept. 21, declaring victory. Starbucks Workers United announced, through an official letter, that the company “conceded to our point that the minimum availability requirement cannot be unilaterally implemented as union stores, like ours.” They also added that Starbucks would replace the store manager, Ms. Tomi Chorlian.
The strike drew much attention from local political leaders, including Mayor Michelle Wu and many Boston City Councilors. Taylor Dickerson said to Boston.com that the workers were energized and were taking a moment to breathe the fresh air of relief. “It is really grueling work, and there’s a lot that has gone into keeping this up for so long,” added Dickerson.
The Starbucks store, located in the vicinity of Boston University, drew a lot of student support for the strike. Boston University Student Government actively supported the workers and their cause. BU Student Government posted on their Instagram, showcasing their solidarity, and urged students to try a different coffee place until the worker’s demands were met.
The BU Student Body president said in a statement to the Daily Free Press—Boston University’s independent student newspaper: “Starbucks specifically employs a lot of students and employs a lot of lower-income residents in the greater Boston area. We took it as our responsibility, especially because of the location of that Starbucks being integral to our campus…to speak up and show some solidarity with local progressive activists.”
After the strike was over, Starbucks also released a statement. The statement read: “Look forward to serving our consumers once more. The partners at this location are returning to work under the same conditions at the time that they went on strike.” In response to claims made by employees that the corporation gave in to their demands, the company stated that “no negotiations [were] conducted with these partners for their return.”
Several political figures showcased their solidarity by standing in the picket line during the strike and, later, congratulated the workers on victory. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren congratulated Boston Starbucks Workers United through her tweet. Sen. Warren wrote: “Congratulations to the Starbucks workers in Boston, Massachusetts for winning their strike! I visited the picket line last month to stand in solidarity with them in their fight for a safe and equitable workplace. Their victory reminds us that when we organize, we win.”
In order to continue bargaining and upholding fair labor practices after they resume work, the Starbucks union employees at 874 Commonwealth Avenue are collaborating with union attorneys.
Michel Anteby, a Questroom School of Business professor at BU, remarked on the Starbucks workers’ strike, saying that the victory highlighted the workers’ group efforts and the fact that they have a voice in their working conditions. Unionization helped the workers to make their voices heard in front of one of the biggest coffee chains.

About the Contributor
Kaushar Barejiya, News Editor