by Emery Addams, Maine Education Association (personal capacity)
Earlier today, the Starbucks workers in Biddeford, Maine, joined the ranks of over 170 other recently organized Starbucks locations by winning their union vote. Workers across the country have said no to unlivable wages, unsafe working conditions, and exploitation from the bosses of a multimillion-dollar company that has seen soaring profits while its workers suffered through the pandemic and following recession. In Biddeford, workers voted 9-3 for the union, laying the foundations to fight for a first contract. Workers overcame the corporate, union-busting lies, and organized for better working conditions, for power in the workplace, and to bring a fighting mood back to the labor movement.
The struggle for a union and a strong first contract covering all Starbucks workers is a fight for the entire labor movement. We must connect the struggles for union recognition across the state of Maine–including Starbucks, MaineMed, Bates College, and Chipotle in Augusta–to ensure all workers have their needs met. By uniting the labor movement, we can take the fight to other workplaces and improve our chances of winning workers’ demands across the board.
The fight will not stop with one union election–the corporate bosses have made clear, through their union-busting campaigns and use of the NLRB, that they will pull out all the stops to prevent workers from organizing. We must be prepared to work outside the rules of big business and the NLRB and use proven working-class tactics like walkouts, mass protests, occupations, and strikes to win and defend these new union victories and to fight for a strong first contract.