The first unionized Starbucks workers are striking to protest the treatment of their co-workers at three locations.
Workers from Starbucks locations at 1st and University, 1st and Pike, and the First Store at Pike Place Market in Seattle were told Tuesday that they would have to re-interview for their positions.
It is because the company shifts the locations and reforms them to create the “Heritage District,” a collection of three of the most trafficked locations.
A Starbucks representative said the Heritage Market plans to unite the three stores with “elevated experiences” based on the concept of “the company’s historic past, present, and future.”
Of the more than 20 workers who were asked to reapply for their jobs, only one was selected to work at the Heritage District, and workers were faced with the choice of working at different locations quitting.
The Starbucks union representatives dispute this, saying they were given priority and partners have since started at their new locations as of Friday, June 24..
Seattle Starbucks Workers United said: “With less than a week’s notice, the workers at 1st and University, 1st and Pike, and the First Store at Pike Place Market, were expected to make time to interview for their own jobs, a task that is both insulting and impractical.”
“More than twenty workers so far have been informed that they did not qualify for the jobs they have been doing, in some cases, for years.”
In a response to the strike, Starbucks has denied claims of union-busting activity and maintains that it has not violated any labor ordinances.
A Starbuck representative said: “We respect the rights of our partners to organize and protest, and we encourage customers to visit our two other locations on Broadway”.
“We are excited for our new partners working at our Heritage District locations and look forward to seeing how they can bring their passion for coffee in a creative way to our customers.”
The employees of the 1st and Pike location had recently filed a petition to unionize and were set to vote by the end of June.
A Starbucks worker said: “While the heritage district may be a project Starbucks has been working on for a while, the timing of it relative to the 1st and Pike strike is undeniable retaliation, and blatantly illegal.”
“Moreover, almost no one at 1st and Pike was allowed to remain, despite there being reportedly over 40 positions that needed filling. This speaks to deliberate union-busting.”
Last month, the National Labor Relations Board of Buffalo filed a complaint against Starbucks, with details of hundreds of federal labor law violations that happened in Ithica, New York.