Several baristas have gone viral after pausing work for seven minutes in solidarity with Starbucks workers who they claim were fired for attempting to unionize.
The video, posted by the Boston Socialist Alternative on TikTok, shows an employee at one of Boston’s Darwin’s Cafe locations announcing the pause and its stated reason. Posted on March 31, the video has already accumulated over 513,000 views.
“Right now, we’re going to take a quick seven minute break, together at all four stores, in solidarity with those Memphis seven who were fired for fighting back at their cafe,” the worker states.
In February, the Washington Post reported that seven employees at a Memphis location were fired while attempting to unionize their workforce. While Starbucks claimed there were “significant violations” of safety and security policies, the workers contended that they were really fired for their unionization efforts.
“We’re going to take a seven-minute break, all at the same time,” says the Darwin’s worker. They later state, “Everything would run much more smoothly here in Darwin’s if we had a real say on the job if we were staffed well enough to take breaks if we were paid enough to come to work less stressed or to stay home when we’re sick.” They later asked for healthcare, extra vacation and sick time, and more.
Legally, a company cannot fire an employee for attempting to unionize workers. In practice, however, many companies find excuses to fire these employees for non-union related reasons.
The New York Times quoted Sharon Block, a former National Labor Relations Board member, about this topic in 2020. She said, “This is a continuation of behavior that has become all too common, of employers being willing to use increasingly aggressive tactics to stop unionizing.”
The article also detailed the manifold efforts many corporations take to prevent employees from unionizing. These included exposing their employees to anti-union propaganda and hiring people to dissuade workers from organizing.
In the comments under the Boston Socialist Alternative’s video, users showed solidarity with the unionization efforts of both Starbucks and Darwin’s.
“I would happily wait 7 minutes to allow workers to fight for their rights,” wrote one user.
“The new American labor movement may start with Starbucks but it is beautiful,” agreed another.
“What an amazing diplomatic display,” added a third. “Asking for basic employee rights shouldn’t be hard.”
Neither Darwin’s Cafe nor the Boston Socialist Alternative immediately responded to Daily Dot’s request for comment via TikTok comment.
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