‘Solidarity Fund’ Created for Ohio Starbucks Employees as They Attempt to Unionize in Columbus

A “solidarity fund” has been created for Starbucks employees at a Columbus store as they attempt to join co-workers nationwide in unionizing, a process they say is being opposed by the coffee giant.

“In Columbus, OH, a courageous and amazing group of Starbucks workers have come together at the 88 E. Broad St. store to form their Union with Starbucks Workers United! They are fighting for better wages, safe working conditions, and a voice at their worksite,” says a GoFundMe page organized by former Columbus mayoral candidate Liliana Baiman.

Baiman unsuccessfully ran for office in 2019, but remains active in local politics.

The GoFundMe page claims that Starbucks is opposing the unionization efforts.

“However, Starbucks management is fighting against workers with union-busting tactics, including terminations and cutting hours,” according to the page. “Workers all across the country at different Starbucks stores are fighting back and winning. Join us and be a part of history here in Columbus. We must stand up as a community and support these workers, including creating a community fund for mutual aid.”

At the time of publication, the fundraiser had hauled in $2,755 of a $4,000 goal.

A Starbucks corporate official denied that the company is anti-union, and said that it has worked hard to give employees a fair shake.

“We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country. From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed,” a Starbucks spokesperson told The Ohio Star Monday.

The company spokesperson cited a December 2020 increase in starting wages of five percent, and a 10 percent raise to all baristas and supervisors. According to the company, tenured staff received an 11 percent pay bump.

“In October 2021 we announced further investments in wages: Starting in summer 2022, U.S. hourly partners will average nearly $17/hour with a new range of $15-$23 for baristas in summer 2022,” according to the company.

It said it has invested more than one billion dollars in “incremental investments in annual wages and benefits over the last two years.”

Unionization efforts have ramped up nationwide, as stores in Cleveland, the Twin Cities, and Tennessee have all voted to unionize.

Other stores in the western part of the country have also joined the effort.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].

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