AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Starbucks workers at the cafe at Sheridan Drive and Bailey Avenue in Amherst joined national protests against the company on Wednesday.
According to Starbucks Workers United, the strike comes one day before company shareholders vote on whether to do an assessment of Starbucks’ labor practices at the coffee chain’s annual shareholders meeting.
“Seattle workers will march outside the company’s Seattle headquarters in a major protest, declaring that our fight for the right to organize will not be stopped by the former union-busting CEO whose lawbreaking is coming under increased scrutiny,” Starbucks Workers United says.
It was recently announced that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz would be stepping down from his position earlier than expected. Schultz is set to testify in front of the U.S. Senate regarding the company’s response to union organization.
This was Schultz’s third stint as CEO, previously serving in the position from 1986 to 2000, then 2008 to 2017 before becoming the interim head starting last year.
The Sheridan and Bailey store is one of more than 100 stores across the United States protesting.
Starbucks Workers United claims shift supervisor Tati Gurskly was “wrongfully fired from the Sheridan and Bailey store in retaliation for their organizing efforts.”
“We’re here and we’re still showing up. Starbucks – when will you start to show up for us?” Gurskly said.
The western New York region itself is significant in Starbucks workers’ fight for unionization, as the nation’s first unionized store is right here on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. The unionization of these workers took place in December 2021.
A Cheektowaga store on Genesee Street became the second store in the country to unionize the following month. Since then, Starbucks Workers United says more than 280 stores across the U.S. have followed suit.
Wednesday’s protest at Sheridan and Bailey is scheduled to take place from Noon at 6 p.m.
Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.