Starbucks Roastery workers protest store closures as Schultz says its “just the beginning”

Jul 18, 2022, 12:55 PM | Updated: 1:06 pm

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Starbucks workers picketed outside the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Pike on Sunday, protesting the company’s refusal to bargain for a contract, the closure of five other Seattle locations, and other “union-busting tactics.”

Starbucks announced the closure of 16 locations across the country, claiming rising crime rates threatened partners, causing the coffee giant to shutter the locations for safety reasons.

Howard Schultz, the interim CEO of Starbucks, defended the decision to close stores in a video leaked by KVI-AM talk radio host Ari Hoffman on Twitter. In the video, he puts the blame back on “Democrat-run cities” for not adequately addressing the rising property crime, drug addiction, and homelessness.

“In my view, at the local, state, and federal level, these governments across the country and leaders — mayors, governors, and city councils — have abdicated their responsibility in fighting crime and addressing mental illness,” he said.

Unionized workers have come forward disputing those claims, saying that the company is using the rise in property crime nationwide to obscure the “union busting” of closing three unionized stores without advanced notice to employees or bargaining with the union.

Starbucks union to bring lawsuit against company, disputes reason for closures

When asked for comment, a Starbucks spokesperson has repeatedly denied that the company’s actions were in any way related to the union stores.

The workers were also protesting what they claimed to be Starbucks’ denial to meet with union officials to bargain for a contract for workers at the roastery following the store’s April 21 election to unionize.

In a statement to Starbucks with their notice to strike, the union asked the company to treat workers as “equals … engaging in mutually beneficial agreement of labor.”

“We are tired of working long shifts with unpaid lunches and long commute times, sometimes for as many as 10 days in a row, and going home to micro-studios without kitchens and air conditioning. We are tired of going home to empty fridges and wallets. We are tired of having our humanity stripped from us. We deserve dignity, happiness, and the lease on life that was enjoyed by [Howard Schultz’s] generation.”

Seattle Starbucks Workers United has announced that they would file a suit with the National Labor Relations Board for a 10(j) injunction to stop the closure, saying that the closures discouraged union activity.

Local News

White Center shooting...

Colleen West

3 hurt after shooter opens fire at White Center bowling alley

KING COUNTY, Wash. — A shooter is on the loose after opening fire on three people at a White Center bowling alley and casino Saturday night.

20 hours ago

Eugene and Linda Lamie, of Homerville, Ga., sit by the grave of their son U.S. Army Sgt. Gene Lamie...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

20 hours ago

echo glen juvenile...

KTTH staff

7 juvenile Echo Glen inmates escape, 4 still on the loose

Seven juveniles escaped the Echo Glen Juvenile detention center early Sunday, according to the King County Sheriff's Office.

2 days ago

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

KIRO 7 News Staff

Crew shortages force WA State Ferries to cancel nearly a dozen trips

Crew shortages forced Washington State Ferries to cancel nearly a dozen trips on one of the busiest travel days KIRO 7 has seen so far this year.

2 days ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

2 days ago

Woman stabbed Central District...

Julia Dallas, KIRO 7 News

Woman escapes through second-story window after man allegedly stabs her in Central District

A woman escaped through a second-story window after a man allegedly stabbed her on Saturday in the Central District.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Starbucks Roastery workers protest store closures as Schultz says its “just the beginning”