By Katie Fongvongsa, WCCO Intern
MINNEAPOLIS -- Starbucks union workers were joined by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum to kick off a summer-long bus tour Monday.
They are planning to stop in 13 cities on their way to Starbucks headquarters in Washington.
Currently, Minnesota has six unionized stores which they have worked towards since January. Overall, there are 300 stores across the country that do not have contracts, emphasizing the workers' reason for a tour.
Workers said they're fighting for the right to organize and create a safe, secure, and respectful workplace. They're also asking for a living wage, guaranteed hours, and consistent scheduling.
"This next chapter in our fight to win our fair, first contract with Starbucks brings not only Starbucks workers, other workers, labor organizations and labor allies alike. But, it is also a sign to the labor movement that we're willing to take our struggle on the road, all the way to Seattle," said the union rep.
The Starbucks workers and McCollum revealed the new tour bus. McCollum applauded these workers for their courage and for trying to get their rights back.
Kera Peterson, the president of St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, said the organization supports this labor movement.
"The east metro labor movement is with them as long as it takes. Minnesota's labor movement stands in solidarity with the thousands of Starbucks workers who are fighting for the right to form a union across the country," Peterson said.
A spokesperson with Starbucks issued the following statement about Monday's bus tour launch:
"Workers United should demonstrate the same commitment to bargaining as they do to rallies and now bus tours. Despite the fact that we have attempted to schedule bargaining for hundreds of stores, Workers United has only met Starbucks at the table to progress negotiations for 11 stores. Partners voted for bargaining not buses - perhaps that's why partners at a dozen stores across the U.S. have already successfully filed petitions to decertify Workers United as their bargaining representative."
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