A Democrat U.S. Senate hopeful from Ohio declared his support for a Cleveland Starbucks store, which aims to become the retail giant’s first unionized coffee shop in the state.
“Something big is brewing in Cleveland. Congratulations and solidarity to the workers taking this critical step to get the fair treatment and respect you deserve,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-17).
Something big is brewing in Cleveland. Congratulations and solidarity to the workers taking this critical step to get the fair treatment and respect you deserve ✊ https://t.co/0tltND8P0n
— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) January 10, 2022
Ryan, a 19-year veteran of the U.S. Congress, ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Democrat nomination for president in 2020. He’s now vying for the Democrat nomination for U.S. Senate in Ohio in a bid to replace outgoing Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
According to a compilation of recent polls, Ryan leads his fellow Democrat primary candidates by a wide margin.
Ryan’s office did not return a Tuesday comment request from The Ohio Star.
Starbucks Workers United has been mobilizing to create a union for the coffee shop’s employees. The group is assisted by the Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board of Workers United (CMRJB) which has helped Starbucks employees who work at stores in Chicago, Boston and other cities in their attempts to unionize.
According to WEWS, the employees made their demands in the form of a letter to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.
“Starbucks partners invest their safety, time, and well-being to serve at the forefront of the customer service industry, and this has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. (However), we do not feel we have been adequately cared for in terms of consistent guidelines or effective safety measures… These experiences have often (led) to burnout, disillusionment, and a feeling that rather than being considered “partners”, we are simply cogs in a machine. …we know we can all do better.”
Back in 2006, Starbucks employees attempted to unionize. Eventually, their goal did not materialize.
At the time, Starbucks said that its stock options package for retail employees, along with its “generous wage and benefits package to eligible partners” made it a competitive place to work, but that it was willing to listen.
“Our work environment fosters open, two-way communication and has many ways for our partners to share their thoughts, opinions and concerns,” it said at the time. “We believe that the direct employment relationship that we currently have with our partners is the best way to help ensure a great work environment.”
The company reportedly responded similarly to the most recent unionization efforts by saying it will “respect the process underway and respect the voices of our partners,” referring to its retail employees.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tim Ryan” by U.S. House of Representatives. Background Photo “Starbucks by 4028mdk09. CC BY-SA 3.0.