“No Contract, No Coffee”: Ithaca Starbucks Workers Organize Labor Day Rally

On a drizzly Labor Day morning, students, community leaders and Ithaca residents gathered on College Avenue for a rally hosted by Starbucks Workers United in support of the Ithaca Starbucks’ efforts to unionize. 

In April 2022, Ithaca became the first city in the United States to unionize all Starbucks locations. The movement was sparked in August 2021 by actions in nearby Buffalo, New York where workers voted to unionize the first Starbucks in the country. 

Ithaca workers were motivated to unionize in October 2021, but in June 2022, management closed the Collegetown location, claiming that it made little sense to continue operating with ongoing issues regarding the condition of the store. The workers claim this was in retaliation for their unionization. Taking place in front of the now-closed Collegetown Starbucks, the crowd included members of SBWU, members of the Ithaca Democratic Socialists of America and the Ithaca Tenants Union. The rally featured speeches from Ithaca Starbucks workers and community leaders and was followed by a parade from College Avenue to Ithaca Commons. 

In his speech, Evan Sunshine ’24, a former Collegetown Starbucks employee and SBWU organizer, noted that the College Avenue workers took action in October 2021 when their manager was forced to quit due to poor working conditions involving upper management. 

Sunshine and his coworkers learned of Stephanie Heslop, a worker at the Starbucks on Ithaca Commons, and became aware of her efforts to unionize the store.

Labor Day Weekend: Cornellians Travel, Repose and Refresh after the First Two Week of Classes

This fall, Cornellians took advantage of the three-day Labor Day weekend to travel, spend time with friends and catch up on schoolwork. 

Several students used the long weekend to travel outside of Ithaca. Alan Liu ’24 went to Syracuse for the Great New York State Fair, which concluded this weekend. “I went with some friends, and it was so fun,” Liu said. “We saw lots of cool animals, and I even won a prize.”

Isabel Hou ’24, who also visited the fair, commented on the weekend’s inclement weather. “I enjoyed the social events that were hosted this weekend,” Hou said.

Labor Day

The Sun will not publish today, Sept. 1, in observance of the Labor Day holiday in the United States. Please stay with us here on CornellSun.com for the latest updates on breaking news across campus and around the world.

To our visitors that have the day off: may your holiday be enjoyable. To our fellow students: enjoy your classes!