Starbucks 'deeply concerned' White House didn't invite company rep to meeting with union organizers

President Biden, Vice President Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh attended the discussion

Starbucks is asking for a sit-down with Biden administration officials after the White House left the company out of a meeting that included an organizer seeking to unionize the coffee giant's workers.

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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks as U.S. President Joe Biden, left, and Marty Walsh, U.S. secretary of labor, right, listen during an event at Ironworkers Local 5 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland U.S., on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022.  (Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The White House announced Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh met Thursday with "grassroots worker organizers" from several industries, including Laura Garza of Starbucks Workers United, the union currently trying to organize the company nationwide. 

President Biden also "stopped by the discussion and thanked the worker organizers for their leadership in organizing unions," the administration said.

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Starbucks says it is "deeply concerned" by the move and wants equal time.

Starbucks

A Starbucks sign outside a Starbucks coffee shop in downtown Pittsburgh.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar / AP Newsroom)

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"We are deeply concerned that Workers United, which is actively engaged in collective bargaining with us and trying to organize all our stores and our +240,000 partners (employees), was invited to the meeting while not inviting official Starbucks representatives, to discuss our view on the matter," Starbucks head of public affairs AJ Jones wrote in a letter dated Thursday to White House counsel Steve Ricchetti.

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"We believe this lack of representation discounts the reality that the majority of our partners oppose being members of a union and the unionization tactics being deployed by Workers United," Jones continued. "As you know, American workers have the absolute right to decide for themselves to unionize, or not to unionize, without any undue influences."

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Starbucks employees at the coffee chain's Elmwood Village location in Buffalo voted 19 to 8 in favor of joining Workers United, a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union. (Starbucks Workers United)

The letter goes on to list several benefits Starbucks offers its employees and touts the company's relationship with its workers.

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"Simply stated, we have a drastically more positive vision for our partners and our company than Workers United," Jones wrote, before requesting to meet with Ricchetti "and bring a diverse, representative group of Starbucks partners from across the country to the White House so that they can share points of view and experiences that are vastly different from those presented by Workers United."