Faith leaders stand with Starbucks workers on their road to union victories!

The workers, united, will never be defeated! The unstoppable Starbucks Workers United, SBWUPDX, won again, Tuesday 6/7 at the embattled Jantzen Beach (JB) store in a 10-5 sweep! JB has been the site of fierce struggle between union activists and company managers. One JB barista, Matt Thornton, was fired for union organizing. JB workers, with community support, shut the store down twice in protest, once with a rally (in which JWJ co-Chair Jacob Faatz spoke) and once with a strike (in which Rev. Connie Yost from JWJ’s Faith Labor Committee spoke.) See below for Rev. Connie Yost’s invocation from the picket line!

We cheer that Portland Starbucks baristas are 9 for 9 in the Portland area! Jantzen Beach workers join union baristas who won their unions June 2nd: Jenkins at Cedar Hills (voted 10-2), Walker Road (voted 12-5), Garden Home (voted 12-1.) Prior to that victories were won at Westmoreland (voted 9-1), SE Powell/28th (voted 14-2), SW 5th/Oak (voted 5-0), 23/Burnside (voted 9-2), Grand/Lloyd (voted 9-0.).

The outpouring of community support–the countless rallies, sip-ins for #UnionStrong coffee, car caravans, social media support, and standing with striking baristas on the picket line — has been critical every step of the way! Starbucks workers keep winning, and have already won over 135 unions nation-wide, in the face of a vicious anti-worker campaign led by CEO Howard Schultz. When workers unite, they win. When labor and community unite, it’s a movement – together we make more movement wins possible!

See below for the invocation Rev. Connie Yost from JWJ’s Faith Labor Committee delivered to workers at the Jantzen Beach picket line!

Co-Chair Jacob Faatz with The Rev. Connie Yost
"It is good to be with you today. I am the Rev. Connie Yost and a member of the Faith Labor Committee of Jobs with Justice. Standing with workers is an important part of my ministry, and I feel a special connection to Starbucks workers.
I grew up in Seattle and before I entered the ministry, I was in sales and Starbucks was a client of mine.
This was the early 90’s when Starbucks was just getting going. Now I am the President of Farm Worker Ministry Northwest and a few years ago, I attended the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting in Seattle at the request of United Farm Workers, which was trying to get Starbucks to support dairy workers. This annual meeting was quite a lavish affair with thousands in attendance. There were 3 large screens showing pictures of Black and brown coffee farmers and smiling Starbucks workers in their green aprons. For several hours Starbucks management emphasized their ethical and sustainable values. And yet when it came time for management to stand up for the dairy workers in their supply chain, it was clearly “not our problem.”
Now, today, it is their problem. You are making good trouble. You are standing up for your rights,
beginning with the right to organize. We call on Starbucks management to stop their union-busting tactics. We call on Starbucks to reinstate union organizer Matt Thornton who was unjustly fired.
We call on Starbucks to walk the talk, taking to heart the company’s own motto: To inspire and
nurture the human spirit. What better way to do that than to treat workers fairly?
Let us pray, We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of these workers. We say “no” to the greed that values profit over people. The workers are the backbone of the company, not the shareholders.
Let us each call on our own source of strength so we can find it in our heart to stand with these workers even when the going gets tough.
Workers, may you know that our hearts are open to you in love, justice and hospitality. May the
organizing and strikes soon bear fruit. We are with you.
This we pray, in the spirit of life, love and solidarity.
Amen."

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