In a significant development, a coalition of labour unions, the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), has ended its months-long proxy fight with Starbucks after the coffee giant agreed to work towards establishing collective bargaining agreements with its unionised workers.

The decision follows an agreement reached last week between Starbucks and Workers United, the main union representing Starbucks baristas, to collaborate on a “foundational framework” for collective bargaining agreements and resolving outstanding legal issues.

This agreement marks a potential turning point in the ongoing labour dispute at Starbucks, which began in 2021 when employees at several stores voted to unionise.

“We believe that by and large shareholders are optimistic the company has committed to these changes in good faith and intends to begin to repair its relationship with its workers,” the SOC stated in a press release.

“We feel that now is the time to acknowledge the progress that has been made and to allow the company and its workers to focus on moving forward. As such, we are withdrawing our director nominations,” the SOC added.

Starbucks, in its response, expressed appreciation for the SOC’s decision and reiterated its commitment to “driving long-term value for all stakeholders.”

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The company highlighted its focus on “doing the right thing” for its employees and expressed confidence in the future, stating: “The best days of Starbucks are ahead.”

The development comes after the influential proxy advisory company Institutional Shareholder Services sided with Starbucks, recommending investors vote against the SOC’s board nominees.

This, coupled with the progress made in labour negotiations, likely influenced the SOC’s decision to withdraw its director nominations.

While the proxy fight has ended, the SOC emphasised its continued monitoring of Starbucks’ performance and approach to labour relations.

The agreement between Starbucks and Workers United signifies a potential step towards a more collaborative future for the company and its employees.