2 North Side Starbucks close down as workers join national 1-day strike

Workers at two unionized Chicago Starbucks went on strike Thursday, joining baristas at more than 100 locations nationwide in walking off the job, organizers said.

The one-day national strike is timed with Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day holiday promotion, during which customers who order qualifying drinks receive a limited-edition reusable red cup. It’s one of the coffee giant’s busiest days, said workers, who are taking aim at the company for what they say is its failure to bargain with their union in good faith.

The striking Starbucks are located at 2101 W. Armitage Ave. in Bucktown and 5964 N. Ridge. Ave. in Edgewater. The Bucktown Starbucks was shut down Thursday morning. At the Edgewater store, workers picketed outside while a few people inside fulfilled mobile and drive-thru orders. A man working inside who would not identify himself as a manager or barista confirmed the store was closing early, at 11 a.m.

The Edgewater store became one of the first in Chicago to unionize in May. Starbucks workers were on strike elsewhere in Illinois on Thursday, including in Rockford and Cary, said Carlos Ginard, assistant manager with the Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board of Workers United, the Service Employees International Union affiliate that represents the Starbucks workers.

“They make a lot of money on these days,” said Reed Essex, a barista at the Armitage and Hoyne store, emphasizing that high-grossing days like Red Cup Day were hard on employees. “We are working as fast as we can with beverages close to boiling,” Essex said.

On Thursday, workers planned to pass out their own union-branded red cups to would-be customers in lieu of the company’s official red cups. Strikers were drinking coffee from Colectivo Coffee, where workers are unionized with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

In a statement, Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trull said the company was aware of “union demonstrations” planned for Thursday.

“We respect their right to engage in lawful protest activity — though our focus has been, and continues to be, on uplifting the Starbucks experience for our partners and customers,” Trull said in a statement.

A sign is taped to the door at Starbucks in the 2100 block of North Armitage Avenue in Chicago on Nov. 17, 2022.

In the picket line Thursday, baristas in Chicago said the company was not bargaining in good faith with their union. Essex, who is on the bargaining committee, said Starbucks did not show up to a scheduled bargaining session in October because it was opposed to hybrid bargaining; the union had planned to provide a Zoom room for members to watch proceedings. On bargaining dates for other Chicago stores, Essex said, Starbucks representatives showed up but left the bargaining table quickly to caucus.

Trull said parties did not agree to conduct bargaining sessions in hybrid or virtual formats, and he maintained that the company was acting in good faith. “We believe that bargaining in this format will undermine important and personal conversations related to the unique needs of our partners at each store,” he said.

“Counter to what the union has shared, it’s been Workers United’s tactics and conduct that has been the biggest impediment to moving the process forward,” Trull said. He said Starbucks representatives have remained on-site in caucus rooms for the duration of scheduled bargaining sessions, “ready and willing to begin discussions in alignment with the NLRB process.”

Workers United international Vice President Kathy Hanshew said the company’s actions were unusual.

“Out of the Chicago Midwest Regional Joint Board, we deal with about 240 employers,” Hanshew said. “We’ve had no employer act the way that Starbucks has acted at these negotiations.”

Starbucks Workers United has filed unfair labor practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board over the company’s bargaining practices. Starbucks filed its own unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB against the union last month, alleging union representatives unlawfully recorded bargaining sessions for workers who couldn’t attend, including in Chicago.

“We feel disrespected and unseen, and that’s why we’re shut down today,” said Nicole Deming, a strike captain at the Bucktown store who is a member of its bargaining committee. Deming said the gains she hopes workers will eventually win in a contract include yearly raises that keep up with inflation and pay based on seniority.

As of last week, workers at nearly 260 Starbucks around the country had voted to unionize, including workers at Starbucks in Hyde Park, Edgewater, Bucktown, West Rogers Park and West Lakeview. No Starbucks has reached a collective bargaining agreement with the company, said Casey Moore, a barista on the union’s communications committee.

Nationally, the NLRB’s regional offices have issued nearly 50 complaints against Starbucks covering a wide range of alleged labor law violations, according to the NLRB. On Tuesday, the labor board’s regional director in Detroit sought a nationwide cease-and-desist order against Starbucks to prevent it from engaging in “illegal conduct at any of its stores.”

“Given the number and pattern of Starbucks’ unfair labor practices here and elsewhere, particularly discharges, a nationwide cease-and-desist order is necessary to halt Starbucks’ systemic campaign of retaliation,” the filing read. In a statement, Trull said no Starbucks worker “has been or will be disciplined or separated for supporting, organizing or otherwise engaging in lawful union activity.”

In Chicago, the company closed one of the handful of unionized city stores in October shortly before it was set to begin bargaining, a move Workers United slammed as union-busting. Starbucks said the store, located at 1070 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. in Edgewater, was closed due to “ongoing safety issues impacting customers and partners.”

The labor board’s regional director in Chicago has issued complaints alleging Starbucks fired a worker in Wilmette for attempting to unionize, which Starbucks denied; disciplined a Hyde Park barista because he testified at a labor board hearing; and threatened and interrogated baristas at stores that were attempting to unionize. Starbucks did not comment specifically on the latter two complaints at the time, but has consistently denied allegations of lawbreaking.

A hearing before an administrative law judge on Chicago-area complaints was initially scheduled to begin this week but has been postponed indefinitely, according to NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado.

Source : https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-national-starbucks-strike-chicago-20221117-tbvwcjt2gfgpflcjhryeln7cvi-story.html#ed=rss_www.chicagotribune.com/arcio/rss/category/news/

Leave a Comment

SMM Panel PDF Kitap indir