Friday marks the beginning of a strike by the first unionised Starbucks employees in Seattle, from the Broadway and Denny location on Capitol Hill. They are protesting the treatment of their coworkers at three locations.
“With less than a week’s notice, the employees at First and University, First and Pike, and the first store at Pike Place Market were expected to interview for their own jobs, a humiliating and impractical request. More than 20 employees have been informed, in some cases for years, that they are no longer qualified for their jobs, according to a press release from Seattle Starbucks Workers United.
Only one worker from the First and Pike store, which has filed a petition to unionise, was offered their original position, leaving the other employees with the option of transferring to a different store or quitting.
Beginning at 7:00 a.m., workers will picket in front of their store at 101 Broadway East.
The picketing will last until Sunday.
“While the heritage district may be a project that Starbucks has been working on for some time, the timing of the project in relation to the First and Pike strike is undeniable retaliation and blatantly illegal. Furthermore, almost no one was permitted to remain at First and Pike, despite the fact that over 40 positions were reportedly vacant. “This is indicative of deliberate union busting,” a worker who requested anonymity stated.
The National Labor Relations Board of Buffalo issued a complaint against Starbucks last month, detailing hundreds of violations of federal labour law in western New York.
According to a press release, the accusations included retaliatory firings, the closure of pro-union stores, unlawful threats, oppressive surveillance, and intimidation techniques.
More Starbucks locations in the United States are opting to unionise.
Starbucks Workers United reports that over 150 stores have unionised.