[Allen Park = MI Asian] Staffers at a Starbucks in Allen Park hung up their aprons early Wednesday morning (Feb. 22) and picked up pickets instead. At the same time today, workers at about 100 of the company’s 9,000 stores across the country went on strike, and what they want is to unionize.
Starbucks opposes unionization, saying the company operates better when it works directly with its employees. But it recently said it respects employees’ right to legitimate protest.
Tori Tambellini, a former Starbucks shift supervisor and union organizer who was fired in July of last year, said workers were protesting Starbucks’ “union-busting methods,” including understaffed stores, poor management, and closing unionized stores. The union pointed out that Starbucks recently closed its first unionized store in Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle. However, Starbucks said it closed the store for safety reasons.
Starbucks and the union began contract negotiations at about 50 stores, but have not reached an agreement. According to the National Labor Relations Board, the union has filed at least 446 unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks since late last year, including allegations that the company has fired labor organizers and refused to bargain. Meanwhile, the company has filed 47 charges against the union, including allegations that the union violated bargaining rules by recording bargaining sessions and posting the recordings online.
So far, the labor dispute doesn’t appear to have hurt Starbucks’ sales. Starbucks said in November that its July-September revenue rose 3% to $8.41 billion.