Starbucks workers held a one-day strike outside a store in Atlanta in protest over working conditions.
Customers were turned away as they hoisted signs reading “People over profits,” “Seize the Beans,” and “Today’s featured drink: strikeaccino.”
Workers say management has failed to engage in meaningful conversation with their newly formed union – The first at an Atlanta-area Starbucks.
Page Smith, one of the organisers at the Howell Mill Road facility , said the walkout has a “bittersweet aspect.”
“Because while I’m proud of us for being so strong and coming out and striking and closing the store down for the day, it’s still sad that we are at this point.”
A Starbucks spokesperson restated the company’s anti-union stance in an emailed statement but said that it expects to engage “in good faith” with the unions that do form in its stores.
The spokesperson said: “We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country.”
She said: “From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed.”
The baristas on Howell Mill Road unionized early this year, claiming a need for greater wages and more stable hours.
On Sunday, July 17, employees said that conditions had worsened rather than improved since they founded the union.
The schedules were becoming increasingly irregular, and management was hesitant to begin the process of contract negotiation.
A spokesperson for Starbucks said: “We’ve also been clear that we respect our partners’ legal right to organize and will bargain in good faith with the stores that vote to be represented by the union.”
The strike and unionization at the Howell Mill Road Starbucks are part of a growing labor organizing push in Georgia, a state with traditionally low rates of union representation.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution