Starbucks workers, including some in Southern California, begin 3-day strike at 100 US stores

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Friday, December 16, 2022
Starbucks workers begin 3-day walkout at 100 US stores
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Starbucks workers around the U.S., including some in Southern California, launched a planned three-day strike as part of their effort to unionize the coffee chain's stores.

HIGHLAND PARK, Calif. (KABC) -- Starbucks workers around the U.S., including some in Southern California, launched a planned three-day strike as part of their effort to unionize the coffee chain's stores.

More than 1,000 baristas at 100 stores are planned to walk out, according to Starbucks Workers United, the labor group organizing the effort. The strike will be the longest in the year-old unionization campaign.

The union says it expects the strike will shutter some stores entirely; at others, managers or other workers may keep the stores open.

A Starbucks store in Highland Park was among those closed Friday morning due to the strike. Workers picketed in front of the store, chanting "No contract, no coffee."

The Highland Park location was among nine in Southern California affected by the strike.

Starbucks, which opposes the unionization effort, said Friday that the strike was having a limited impact on its stores and most remained open.

"We remain focused on working together and engaging meaningfully and directly with the union to make Starbucks a company that works for everyone, and we urge Workers United to uphold their promises to partners by moving the bargaining process forward," the company said in a statement.

This is the second major strike in a month by Starbucks' U.S. workers. On Nov. 17, workers at 110 Starbucks stores held a one-day walkout. That effort coincided with Starbucks' annual Red Cup Day, when the company gives reusable cups to customers who order a holiday drink.

"We want consistent scheduling," said Veronica Gonzalez, a Starbucks supervisor who picketed in Highland Park on Friday. "As of now, Starbucks is constantly under-scheduling at stores that are union, non-union. At least we have the power to strike."

More than 264 of Starbucks' 9,000 company-run U.S. stores have voted to unionize since late last year.

Workers United noted that Starbucks recently closed the first store to unionize in Seattle, the company's hometown. Starbucks has said the store was closed for safety reasons.

Starbucks and the union have begun contract talks in about 50 stores but no agreements have been reached.

The process has been contentious. According to the National Labor Relations Board, Workers United has filed at least 446 unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks since late last year, including that the company fired labor organizers and refused to bargain. The company, meanwhile, has filed 47 charges against the union, among them allegations that it defied bargaining rules when it recorded sessions and posted the recordings online.

So far, the labor disputes haven't appeared to dent Starbucks' sales. Starbucks said in November that its revenue rose 3% to a record $8.41 billion in the July-September period.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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