Starbucks & Union Joint Statement on Collective Bargaining  “Framework” Talks – Mercedes Alabama Workers Have Majority Union Sign Up – Joey Votto & Union Agree He Should Have a Deal

Starbucks and SEIU's Starbucks Worked United say they have begun talks on a "framework' for collective bargaining (SEIU)


Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, where we are closely monitoring the election results in Michigan. 

13.5% Michigan Votes “Uncommitted” in Protest of Biden’s Support for Gaza Genocide 

With 92% of the vote counted in Michigan, approximately 13.8% of the state has voted “uncommitted.”

Michigan has the largest Arab population in the nation, with over 310,000 Arab-Americans living there. In 2020, with Biden winning the state by only 155,000 votes, Michigan’s Arab-Americans were crucial to Biden’s victory in 2024. 

The anti-war group Listen to Michigan, which began its campaign to persuade voters to vote “uncommitted,” proclaimed that the result showed Biden to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. 

“Our movement emerged victorious tonight and massively surpassed our expectations,” said the group on Twitter. “President Biden has funded the bombs falling on the family members of people who live right here in Michigan. People who voted for him, who now feel completely betrayed. President Biden, listen to Michigan. Count us out, Joe.”

For more analysis, check out the rather informative Twitter account of “Listen to Michigan.” 

Starbucks & Union Agree to Collective Bargaining  “Framework” Talks 

Earlier today, American Prospect editor-at-large Harold Meyerson broke the story that Starbucks and SEIU Workers United, the sponsoring union of Starbucks Workers United, had agreed to enter into talks about a “framework” for collective bargaining at the coffee giant. 

The agreement occurred as Starbucks claimed that it lost $11 billion as a result of boycotts over its founding CEO Howard Schultz’s support for Israel’s attack on Gaza

Starbucks had sued Starbucks Workers United after the union, which has won union elections at more than 400 Starbucks across the U.S., called for a boycott of Starbucks over its support of Israel’s attack on Gaza. In response, the union countersued Starbucks. 

According to the Prospect’s Harold Meyerson,during meditation over the lawsuit, the new CEO of Starbucks, Laxman Narasimhan, signaled that the company was interested in dropping its opposition to a union and settling issues as the company faced a massive boycott due to its support of the war in Gaza. 

In a joint statement of Starbucks and Starbucks Worked United, the two groups signaled their intent to continue talks around reaching an agreement about a “framework” for collective bargaining rights. 

‘Workers United and Starbucks have agreed to begin discussions on a fundamental framework to achieve collective bargaining agreements for represented stores and partners, the resolution of litigation between the union and the company, including brand litigation, and fair process for workers to organize”, read the joint statement between Starbucks and its union. 

“While there is plenty of work ahead, coming together to develop this framework is significant step forward and a clear demonstration of a shared commitment to work collaboratively and with mutual respect”, concluded the group’s mutual statement. 

Many long-time Starbucks union members said that they were shocked their leadership had begun talks over a collective bargaining “framework” with Starbucks. From the American Prospect: 

The grounds on which company and union came together was a mediation process to settle a company suit and a union countersuit over some workers’ use of the word “Starbucks” to identify themselves during an action they took in opposition to the ongoing Gaza war. Over just the past week, that mediation broadened to include settling the underlying disputes between the company and its workers. It was only on Tuesday, however, with the release of the joint statement, that the baristas learned that a larger agreement had been reached.

“Our initial reaction was shock,” says Eisen. “And then tears—lots of tears, of disbelief and then relief.”

For more, check out Harold Meyerson’s piece at the American Prospect. 

UAW Achieves “Majority Sign Up” at Mercedes in Vance, Alabama 

For nearly 15 years, the UAW has attempted to unionize workers at the Mercedes plant in Vance, Alabama. While the union has come within a few dozen votes of union elections at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, the union has never held a union election in Alabama. 

Today, the UAW announced that most Vance, Alabama, autoworkers had signed up to join the union. 

“A majority of our coworkers at Mercedes here in Alabama have signed our union cards and are ready to win our union and a better life with the UAW,” said the union in a statement. “We haven’t taken this step lightly. For years, we’ve fallen further behind while Mercedes has made billions”. 

For more, watch the UAW’s announcement. 

MLB Union Prez Decries Failure of MLB Team to Sign Joey Votto 

For 15 years, Joey Votto, a 6-time All-Star, was a prolific first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds, hitting .294 in 7,252 at-bats and 356 home runs. 

Not only was Votto a great player on the field, but off the field, he drew attention to the failure of MLB players to stand up for social justice issues. Following the police murder of George Floyd in June of 2020, Votto, a Canadian native, wrote an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer calling on white folks to do better and admitting his complicity in police violence. 

“Everything inside of me wants things to go back to normal. I don’t want to protest, raise my voice, or challenge someone. I don’t want to have heated arguments, break up friendships, or challenge previous norms,” wrote Votto. 

“But I hear you now, and so that desire for normalcy is a privilege by which I can no longer abide. That privilege kept me from understanding the “why” behind Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. That privilege allowed me to ignore my black teammates’ grievances about their experiences with law enforcement, being profiled, and discriminated against,” wrote Votto. “And that privilege has made me complicit in the death of George Floyd, as well as the many other injustices that blacks experience in the U.S. and my native Canada.” 

At age 40, after 15 years with the Reds, Votto can’t find a team that wants to sign him despite hitting 14 home runs with the Reds in only 200 at-bats last year. He has taken to Twitter to joke that he would refuse to return his shopping carts unless he were signed. 

On Tuesday, Tony Clark, the first Black president of the Major League Players Associations, took to Twitter to mourn significant league teams for not signing Votto to a deal. 

“I haven’t had a conversation with Joey or his agent, so I’m not going to speculate on why he is or isn’t signed at this point,” Clark told Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “But I agree that the game is always better with a Joey Votto in it.”

For more, check out the Cincinnati Enquirer. 

Alright, folks, that’s all for today. Keep sending tips, comments, complaints, and suggestions to [email protected] 

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Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]