In a resolution from District 3 representative Kshama Sawant supporting the employees at her home district’s Broadway at Denny shop, six council members including Sawant vote to approve the symbolic resolution “expressing the Seattle City Council’s support for workers at Starbucks in Seattle who are attempting to form a union.”
“The Seattle City Council believes that this unionization drive will benefit not only Starbucks workers, but all workers in Seattle,” the resolution passed Tuesday reads.
The 6-0 vote was unanimous but council members Alex Pedersen and Sara Nelson declined to support the statements, utilizing the council’s new resolution loophole to abstain and be marked absent from the vote. “I was not elected to take symbolic votes,” Nelson said later via social media. “I was elected by people who want to see progress on our major issues, and I promised to focus on doing just that.”
Lisa Herbold, meanwhile, was not present for the meeting in a planned absence and missed the vote.
In addition to adding its support to the union efforts, the council’s resolution voiced support for “card check neutrality,” a growing movement to replace or augment elections supervised by the National Labor Relations Board with negotiated agreements between union representatives.
“The Seattle City Council urges Starbucks to do the same and accept card check neutrality and allow their workforce to discuss unionization free from threats, intimidation, anti-union propaganda, and lawsuits,” the council resolution brough by Sawant’s office reads. “If Starbucks workers in Seattle unionize, the Seattle City Council urges Starbucks to bargain a fair contract such that the workers can have good standards of living and the company’s overwhelming wealth does not flow just to the top executives and shareholders.”
Congrats to Starbucks workers! We forced Seattle City Council Democrats to vote yes on our resolution demanding Starbucks stop their union busting.
Solidarity with Memphis workers who were fired. We need rallies in cities across the nation to demand Starbucks give the jobs back!
— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) February 8, 2022
“This means so so much to workers in Seattle and all of us in the movement,” Broadway at Denny Starbucks worker Rachel Ybarra said after the vote. “The hometown of Starbucks is telling SB to stop this disgusting behavior and let us organizing in peace.”
CHS reported here on the efforts by Ybarra and others at the Broadway shop to join Starbucks unionization pushes across the country amid a wave of labor efforts to organize labor at some of the largest companies in the nation that experts say align with the pandemic, record job openings, and rising expectations for better pay and working conditions. Smaller entities are also part of the changing mood around labor including the Broadway location of second hand clothing chain Crossroads Trading.