Workers at Philadelphia-area Starbucks went on strike last week for 3 days, joining a larger nationwide 1,000 barista strike across the company, to supposedly protest the company’s “union-busting” tactics.
Three Philadelphia locations, including 34th and Walnut streets, 20th and Market streets and 3400 Civic Center Blvd., walked out on their jobs Friday morning and picketed through the weekend last weekend.
The Philadelphia stores are part of a consortium of more than 100 cafes across the country who have “doubled down” to strike after Starbucks has worked to shut down at least one of its unionized stores, according to Philly Voice.
As a reminder and for context, Starbucks already provides relatively robust benefits (including healthcare, stock options, pay for travel, pay for tuition) and pay compared to its peers in the same industry.
Lydia Hernandez, a barista, told Philly Voice this weekend: “We’re striking again because if Starbucks is going to double down and refuse to bargain with us in good faith, then we’re gonna show them we mean business.”
She continued: “Short staffing, union busting, excluding us from the rollout of credit card tipping; we’re facing all these problems as we enter a busy holiday season and we deserve better.”
The company is being criticized for shutting down its Broadway & Denny location, with workers calling it part of an “anti-union bullying campaign” by the company. That was the first store to unionize. The company closed the store about one year after the first union was formed in Buffalo, NY.
Since then about 3% of the company’s stores – about 270 locations – have unionized.
Michelle Eisen, a barista from the Elmwood location in Buffalo, added: “Starbucks sent a clear message when they closed the Broadway and Denny store. They’re doubling down on their union-busting, so we’re doubling down, too. We’re demanding fair staffing, an end to store closures, and that Starbucks bargain with us in good faith.”
As part of their picket over the weekend, baristas in Philadelphia asked people not to buy Starbucks gift cards as part of a campaign they are calling #NoContractNoGiftCards.
“The best future is created directly with partners and not a third party,” CEO Howard Schultz said earlier this year.