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Cornell University won’t renew its contract with Starbucks amid labor disputes

Ben South, a shift supervisor at the Collegetown Starbucks, speaks at a protest after the chain announced it would close its stores in Ithaca.
Vaughn Golden
/
WSKG
Ben South, a shift supervisor at the Collegetown Starbucks, speaks at a protest after the chain announced it would close its stores in Ithaca.

Cornell University will not renew its contract with Starbucks, the latest fallout from labor disputes involving the coffee chain’s Ithaca locations.

“Cornell Dining does not intend to serve Starbucks Coffee in its café venues after the current agreement with the company expires in 2025,” Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina wrote in a statement.

The move was made in response to a Cornell Student Assembly resolution calling on the administration to reject the coffee chain. The Student Assembly passed the resolution earlier this year in response to Starbucks' decision to close unionized stores in Ithaca.

“Cornell supports fair labor practices in compliance with federal and New York State law, and our School of Industrial and Labor Relations is the preeminent educational institution in the world focused on improving the lives of workers,” Cornell President Martha Pollack wrote in her response to the Student Assembly’s resolution.

The National Labor Relations Board found Starbucks violated federal labor law as it closed locations in Ithaca.

Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment. The company has previously said it believes the union busting claims against it are unfounded.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.