Mayor Wu joined employees and State Rep. Tommy Vitolo on July 25 at the Starbucks near Boston University at 874 Com- monwealth Ave., where employees are on strike “ due to union-busting management, understaffing, and inconsistent scheduling,” according to the city
“Today and the whole union movement is about lifting up the voices of leadership in our city today,” Wu said. “I am here because I want you to know very clearly that the City of Boston stands with you. We are going to make sure that Boston continues to lead the way in fighting for safe working conditions and the benefits and wages and respect that you all deserve.”
Wu said that Boston will continue to stand in support of these employees and what they are fighting for.
Brookline State Rep. Tommy Vitolo said that “I’m glad to be out here again with workers fighting for wages, benefits, and working conditions. It’s that simple. That’s what folks deserve. That’s what they’ve unionized for, and we’re going to fight for it until we get it.”
Raul Fernandez, who has served on the Brookline Select Board and is also running for State Rep., is also a faculty member at Boston University and teaches at the building across from this Starbucks location. He said he has often come to this Starbucks location to grab a coffee beforehand.
“When I heard about what was happening here, it was really important for me to be out here and stand with you all,” Fernandez said.
Spencer Costigan is a shift manager at the 847 Commonwealth Ave. Starbucks location, and said that “we’re on strike because as soon as we voted to unionize in early June, the company brought in a union busting manager who has done everything in her power to make sure that the store does not retain all of our pro-union partners.”
Costigan continued, “our union is stronger than any union busting that they can do. We like working here; we like working with each other. We just need Starbucks to negotiate with us in good faith, which is not something that they’ve been doing in this past year. I believe in them; they talk a big game about being an ethical corporation, obviously we’re still waiting to see that. I have an open mind—I’d love to see them surprise me.”
Starbucks provided the following statement to the Boston Globe earlier this month in response to the strike:
“Starbucks values each of our partners and we respect their legal rights to engage in organizing activity or protest,” the statement read. “We are grateful for each partner who did come into work today, and we are doing our best to listen to the concerns of all our partners.”
Costigan spoke about Starbucks employees being called “essential workers” at the beginning of the pandemic. “We’re still as essential as we were back then. It’s proven by just how many people walk by and say, ‘hey, this is great—we love what you’re doing. Can’t wait til you guys figure this out so I can get my coffee again.’ I can’t wait until we figure it out so I can make that coffee.”