Starbucks workers in more than 100 US stores say they will go on strike on Thursday in what would be the largest labor action sinces started late last year.
The strikes are set to coincide with Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day, when the company is giving away free reusable cups to customers who order a festive drink. Employees say it is often one of the busiest days of the year. Starbucks declined to say how many red cups it plans to distribute.
Workers say they are looking for better wages, more consistent schedules and higher levels of staffing in busy stores. Starbucks opposes unionization efforts, saying the company works best when it works directly with workers. The Seattle-based coffee giant has more than 9,000 branded stores in the United States
According to Starbucks Workers United, the group organizing the action, store employees in 25 states planned to take part in the employee action. Some workers planned to picket all day, while others planned shorter strikes. The union said the aim was to close shops during strikes.
In Instagram postunion says: “Starbucks Workers United is leading a nationwide ULP strike over the company’s refusal to negotiate in good faith. The employees involved in this campaign are also calling on the company to fully staff our union stores as we know short staff = ventilation Wait times. Starbucks believes they may be lingering in negotiations, and we are here to show them that we rebel against their tactics and mean business – by shutting them down.”
Willow Montana, a shift manager at a Starbucks store in Brighton, Massachusetts, was planning a strike because Starbucks failed to bargain with the store despite a successful union vote in April.
“If the company does not negotiate in good faith, why would we come to work where we are understaffed, underpaid and overworked?” Montana said.
Others, including Michelle Eisen, a union activist at one of the first stores in Buffalo, New York, said workers were angry that. Starbucks says it is abiding by the law and cannot give union stores wage increases without haggling.
According to the National Labor Relations Board, at least 257 Starbucks have voted to unionize since late last year. A vote was held in 57 stores in which employees decided not to join trade unions.
Starbucks and the union have begun talks on deals at 53 stores, with 13 additional sessions planned, Starbucks Workers United said. So far no agreements have been reached.
The trial was controversial. Earlier this week, an NLRB regional executive filed for an injunction against Starbucks in federal court, alleging that the company violated labor law by firing a union organizer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The regional director asked the court to order Starbucks to reinstate the employee and stop interfering with the nationwide union campaign.
This is the fourth time the NLRB has asked a federal court to intervene. In August, a federal judgein Memphis, Tennessee. A similar case in Buffalo has yet to be settled, while a federal judge ruled against the NLRB in a case in Phoenix.
Meanwhile, Starbucks has asked the NLRB to temporarily suspend all union elections in its U.S. stores, citing management staff allegations that regional officials were not properly coordinating with union organizers. A decision on this matter is pending.
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