More than 1,000 baristas at store locations across the country are participating in a three-day walkout, according to Starbucks Workers United, the organization organizing the coffee chain’s unionization efforts. The group dubbed the strike “the longest collective action of our campaign yet” on Friday.
The workers at Starbucks are striking once more. According to union organizer Michelle Eisen, “We are demanding fair staffing, an end to store closures, and that Starbucks negotiate with us in good faith.”
More than one hundred retail establishments where workers are participating in the walkout are depicted on the group’s interactive Google Map. After workers at 110 Starbucks stores staged a one-day walkout on Nov. 17, the strike is a “doubling down” effort. That walkout came at the same time as Red Cup Day, a holiday celebration during which the store gives customers reusable red cups when they buy certain beverages.
Additionally, the strike comes after Starbucks closed its Broadway East and Denny Way store in Seattle, which was the first unionized store in the city. According to the business, “safety and security incidents” necessitated the store’s closure.
On December 9, the anniversary of the first day of work for Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York, the store in Seattle was closed. making history by joining a union.
“decided to escalate their anti-union campaign by closing the Broadway & Denny location, the first store to organize in Seattle, on the one-year anniversary of the first Starbucks union election win,” the infuriated union organizers claimed.
In a Friday press release, the union stated, “Starbucks doubled down on their union-busting, so workers are going to double down their fight for a contract.”
Michelle Eisen, a Buffalo barista who is in charge of unionization efforts, stated that “Starbucks sent a clear message when they closed the Broadway and Denny store.” They’re multiplying down on their association busting, so we’re multiplying down, as well. We are asking for fair staffing, an end to store closures, and Starbucks to negotiate with us honestly.”
The union notes that Starbucks has been named “one of the worst violators of federal labor law in modern U.S. history” by the National Labor Relations Board in over 45 official complaints involving over 900 alleged violations of federal labor law.
“It is unfortunate that Workers United continues to spread misleading claims while disrupting the Starbucks Experience that our partners and customers have come to love and expect,” the company stated in an interview with FOX Business.
“We remain focused on working together and engaging meaningfully and directly with the union to make Starbucks a company that works for everyone, and we urge Workers United to uphold their promises to partners by moving the bargaining process forward,” a Starbucks spokesperson stated. “Despite these delay tactics, we remain focused on working together and engaging meaningfully and directly with the union.”
“Underpaid, forced to run perpetually understaffed stores and don’t have consistent schedules they can rely on,” the striking workers claimed.
They have accused the company of employing union-busting strategies and demanded “the right to organize a union free of intimidation and fear.”
Starbucks asserted that it respects workers’ right to protest and that the vast majority of protest-hit stores have remained open. In addition, less than 3% of the company’s 9,000 company-operated stores in the United States have sought union membership.
In an effort to unionize Starbucks across the United States, dozens of employees in Los Angeles joined hundreds of others in striking on Friday.
According to the labor organization leading the effort, Starbucks Workers United, more than 1,000 baristas planned to walk out of 100 stores.
We do not wish to have two jobs. We want sufficient benefits. Araseli Romero, a shift supervisor at Starbucks in Little Tokyo, stated, “We want to have enough pay.” On Friday, potential customers encountered locked doors.
Starbucks employees in the United States have staged their second major strike in a month. At 110 Starbucks locations, workers staged a one-day walkout on November 17. That effort came at the same time as Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day, when customers who order holiday drinks receive reusable cups.
Since the end of last year, over 264 of Starbucks’ 9,000 company-owned stores in the United States have voted to join a union. In approximately fifty stores, Starbucks and the union have begun contract negotiations, but no agreements have been reached.
Romero stated, “They’re not bargaining in good faith.”
Workers United pointed out that Starbucks recently closed its first unionized store in Seattle, the city where the company is headquartered. According to Starbucks, the location was closed for safety reasons.
Mark Masaoka, a customer at the Little Tokyo Starbucks, stated to KTLA, “It’s important for service workers…to be treated well and fairly and have decent work.”
On Friday, Starbucks issued the following statement:
“It is regrettable that Workers United continues to spread false claims while disrupting the Starbucks Experience, which our partners and customers have come to love and expect. We continue to remain focused on working together, despite these tactics of delay.”
The strike has so far impacted four Starbucks locations in the Los Angeles region.
As the union tries to increase the pressure in its year-long dispute with the coffee retailer, about 100 Starbucks stores across the United States will go on strike for the next three days.
This is Starbucks Workers United’s second widespread strike. In November, on the day that Starbucks offered free reusable holiday cups as part of its “red cup day” promotion, the workers went on strike for a single day. According to the union, it has won votes at 270 Starbucks locations thus far.
The union claims that this strike is in response to unfair labor practices, such as the company’s refusal to negotiate for an initial union contract and the closing of stores that have voted to join the union, such as the first store in the company’s hometown of Seattle to do so.
Michelle Eisen, a barista from the Buffalo store that was the first to vote for the union a year ago, stated, “They’re doubling down on their union-busting, so we’re doubling down, too.” We are asking for fair staffing, an end to store closures, and Starbucks to negotiate with us honestly.
When asked for their opinion, Starbucks did not immediately respond. It has argued that store closures are necessary for employee safety in the past. Additionally, it has attributed the lack of progress at the bargaining table to the union.
About 80% of the votes cast by the union have gone in favor of the union. Despite its success, Starbucks operates approximately 9,000 company-owned stores in the United States, not including the 270 unionized locations.
Utilizing managers and employees from nearby stores, Starbucks was able to keep many of its stores open during the previous strike.