Starbucks workers go on strike over ‘union busting activity’
Workers from the Starbucks location, located at the corner of Broadway and Denny, announced they are going on strike today over the treatment of fellow workers in the “Heritage District” in Pike Place Market.
According to a press release from the Seattle Starbucks Workers United, workers from Starbucks locations at 1st and University, 1st and Pike, and the First Store at Pike Place Market were told Tuesday that they would have to re-interview for their positions, as the company shifts the locations and reforms them to create the “Heritage District,” a collection of three of the most trafficked locations.
According to a representative speaking on behalf of Starbucks, the Heritage Market plans to unite the three stores with “elevated experiences” based on the concept of “the company’s historic past, present, and future.”
Of the more than 20 workers who were asked to reapply for their jobs, only one was selected to work at the Heritage District, and workers were faced with the choice of working at a different location, with no priority given to them or quitting. The Starbucks representative disputes this claim saying they were given priority and partners have since started at their new locations as of Friday.
“With less than a week’s notice, the workers at 1st and University, 1st and Pike, and the First Store at Pike Place Market, were expected to make time to interview for their own jobs, a task that is both insulting and impractical. More than twenty workers so far have been informed that they did not qualify for the jobs they have been doing, in some cases, for years. ” a news release from Seattle Starbucks Workers United said.
— SB Workers United Seattle (@SeattleSBWU) June 24, 2022
In a response to the strike, Starbucks has denied claims of union-busting activity and maintains that it has not violated any labor ordinances.
“We respect the rights of our partners to organize and protest, and we encourage customers to visit our two other locations on Broadway,” a Starbuck representative said. “We are excited for our new partners working at our Heritage District locations and look forward to seeing how they can bring their passion for coffee in a creative way to our customers.”
The employees of the 1st and Pike location had recently filed a petition to unionize and were set to vote by the end of June. Employees from the Seattle store on Broadway and Denny will walk to protest the treatment of their co-workers at three other locations.
“While the heritage district may be a project Starbucks has been working on for a while, the timing of it relative to the 1st and Pike strike is undeniable retaliation, and blatantly illegal,” a worker choosing to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation said. “Moreover, almost no one at 1st and Pike was allowed to remain, despite there being reportedly over 40 positions that needed filling. This speaks to deliberate union-busting.”
Last month, the National Labor Relations Board of Buffalo filed a complaint against Starbucks, with details of hundreds of federal labor law violations that happened in Ithica, New York.
According to Starbucks Workers United, more than 150 stores have unionized.
The picketing is set to happen from 5 a.m. Friday, June 24 until 5 a.m. Monday, June 27.