Starbucks workers claim Ithaca store is closing due to union activism
ITHACA, N.Y. — Starbucks workers at an Ithaca, New York, store claim their location is being shut down in retaliation for his or her union activism.
The employee committee stated it is submitting an Unfair Labor Practice cost with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that Starbucks is making a “clear attempt to scare workers across the country,” a press launch from the Starbucks Workers United stated.
On Friday, Starbucks knowledgeable staff in its College Avenue location close to Cornell University that the store will shut in a single week, in accordance to the press launch.
In April, all three Starbucks places in Ithaca voted to unionize, making Ithaca the company’s first totally unionized metropolis throughout the United States, in accordance to the union press launch.
On April 16, workers on the College Avenue store went on strike, claiming “unsafe working conditions” due to a “waste emergency” attributable to an overflowing grease entice, the union stated.
Nadia Vitek, a barista on the soon-to-be closed location, claimed the grease entice had been an ongoing drawback creating an “awful” scent that even clients might discover. They stated there was oil everywhere in the store’s ground.
“Now they’re closing the store and the only concrete reason that they’re giving us is the grease trap,” Vitek stated. “And it feels blatant when you connect the dots.”
On Friday, the store’s district supervisor held a meeting with the employees on Microsoft Teams to announce the store closure, Vitek stated.
“I was shaking as I was hearing them say the news,” Vitek stated. “They didn’t even explain in the call that it was a permanent closure. I got that in an email from the anti-union lawyer that Starbucks has.”
A company spokesperson stated Starbucks opens and closes shops as a part of its common operations. They didn’t touch upon particular causes for the Ithaca closure, or answer any questions past the assertion.
“Our local, regional and national leaders have been working with humility, deep care and urgency to create the kind of store environment that partners and customers expect of Starbucks,” the Starbucks spokesperson stated. “Our goal is to ensure that every partner is supported in their individual situation and we have immediate opportunities available in the market.”
But some Starbucks workers on the location are involved about having sufficient hours, as the opposite shops within the space are already struggling, Vitek stated.
“Starbucks is continuing a divide-and conquer-strategy. But, you know, even though we’re grieving, we’re all ready to fight,” Vitek stated.
Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union which is supporting the Starbucks staff, has additionally filed dozens of complaints in opposition to the espresso large.
“It’s a violation of federal labor law to close a store because workers exercised their legal rights,” Ian Hayes, an lawyer for Starbucks Workers United wrote in a press release to CNN Business. “We … have no doubt the NLRB will prosecute the company for this illegal union busting, and justice will be done.”