March 25, 2022

NYSUT donates $5,000 to Starbucks union organizing efforts, stands in solidarity with union baristas

Source:  NYSUT Media Relations
starbucks rally
Caption: NYSUT Board of Directors member and West Seneca Teachers Association President Joe Cantafio, present $5000 to Buffalo Starbucks workers in support of their union organizing efforts. Photo by Matt Smith.

BUFFALO, N.Y. March 25, 2022 — New York State United Teachers today delivered a $5,000 check to Buffalo Starbucks workers to help with their union organizing efforts, standing in solidarity with baristas as they form unions in coffee shops across Western New York and the country.

Roughly fifty Western New York educators and union officials delivered the donation to Starbucks Workers United leaders at the Starbucks shop on the corner of Delaware Avenue and West Chippewa Street in downtown Buffalo.

“The best way to take your coffee is strong — #UnionStrong,” New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said. “NYSUT is proud to stand in solidarity with Starbucks workers from Buffalo to Seattle as they organize for greater economic justice, accountability from the world’s largest coffee chain and a voice as part of the American labor movement.”

“With Rossann and all the visiting C-suite staying across from us we were spied on day in and out. Our store was used as a prop in Starbucks' infamous ‘How to vote’ video, and I am grateful for the opportunity to rebuild our store's image,” said Roisin Doherty, a lead union organizer at the Delaware-Chippewa Starbucks store. “We stand in solidarity with NYSUT in front of DelChip to receive their donation, setting a new Union Strong view of DelChip.”

"We are so grateful for the support of the NYSUT and all of the teachers supporting our efforts," said Gary Bonadonna Jr., manager of Workers United Rochester Regional Joint Board. "It's going to take the whole labor movement having our back to get Starbucks to end their aggressive anti-union campaign against workers. We are so appreciative of the support and donation from NYSUT."

"We've faced intense union busting from Starbucks corporate," said William Westlake, a barista and organizing committee member at the Camp Road Starbucks store in Hamburg. "I personally was forced into a nine-on-one anti-union meeting with managers and corporate representatives. It means so much to have NYSUT standing by our side and donating to our cause. Thank you to all of the teachers out there who are supporting our efforts!"

Local educators have been showing their solidarity with Starbucks workers since union organizing began in Western New York.

“We’re here to send Starbucks a message: It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher or a barista, Buffalo is a union town where working people stick together,” Buffalo Teachers Federation President and NYSUT Board of Directors member Phil Rumore said. “We’re inspired by what our sisters and brothers from Starbucks are doing here and across the country to stand up for themselves and the rights of all working people. Whatever Starbucks Workers United members face as they organize, BTF members have their backs.”

“In Western New York, we like our coffee union brewed,” West Seneca Teachers Association President and NYSUT Board of Directors member Joe Cantafio said. “We’re proud to welcome Starbucks Workers United members into the family of organized labor, and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them as they organize and fight for the rights they deserve.”

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.