Workers Fight Back as Starbucks Moves to Close Unionized Shop

Starbucks workers accuse company management of illegally retaliating on labor organizing by closing down an Ithaca, New York store that voted to unionize back in April.

Workers United, a SEIU affiliate representing Starbucks workers filed a complaint Friday requesting that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), seek a court injunction to stop the store’s closure. not the first timeStarbucks has stopped operations in a shop involved in union activity.

“It is a clear attempt to scare workers across the country by retaliating against its own employees,” the Workers United bargaining committee argued in the filing, submitted days ahead of the shop’s set closure date of June 10.

Gary Bonadonna Jr. executive vice president of Workers United called the planned store closure a “blatant act of war” against Starbucks workers.

“We have their backs,” he added.

Starbucks’ move came after workers at the College Ave. shop went on strike in mid-April, alleging unsafe working conditions stemming from an “overflowing grease trap.”

In emailWorkers United was published by the progressive outlet on Sunday More Perfect Union, Alan Model — an attorney with Littler Mendelson, the notorious law firm that Starbucks has brought on to assist its union-busting campaign — cited the grease trap as one of the reasons for the impending store closure.

“Trying to operate in that store is certainly not providing the level of partner experience you deserve or the level of costumer experience our customers expect,” Model wrote. “We’d like to engage in bargaining with Workers United as soon as possible to discuss the impact of the store’s closing on its partners.”

Workers however dismissed that argument as a pretext for closing a unionized shop. aggressive tacticsStarbucks has turned to union momentum to slow down the pace of the company. The NLRB has filed a variety of complaints against Starbucks including one last month. accusesThe company was accused of violating federal labor laws more than 200 times.

In the face of mounting hostility from the coffee company’s management, more than 100 Starbucks locations across the U.S. have voted to unionize since historic victoriesA nationwide organizing drive was launched in Buffalo in December.

“This is clearly retaliation for our small grasps at dignity as workers, but our strike showed them what power we have,” Benjamin South, an employee at the Ithaca shop, saidIn a statement. “Taking a corporation to task is unprecedented, but our 100+ union stores are proof positive that there is an army of partners that won’t let Starbucks bully us.”

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