In protest of unsafe working conditions, including a bed bug infestation in their break rooms and mold in their ice makers, workers at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in New York City have been on strike.
According to reports, Starbucks’ flagship location in Manhattan is in appalling condition. Staff members at the coffee magnate’s affluent Reserve Gourmet coffee shop in the Meatpacking District have been on strike since Tuesday protesting hygiene problems they claim have turned into a public health threat.
It also happens to be the first unionized Starbucks in New York City. Sources claim that the multi-billion dollar company won’t negotiate a first service agreement with the union in good conscience.
Do You Want A Starbucks Or “Bed-Bucks”?
Two employees who spoke with the sources on the condition of anonymity described how management gave them the go-ahead to discard any ice that contained mold and continue. Never once did the management appear to be interested in finding the source of the issue. The staff was asked to remove their belongings from the break room when the bedbug infestation occurred, but they were not given a reason.
They only discovered the bed bug infestation a few days later. Workers believed that the fumigation and cleaning were subpar. There have been few bed bug-related proper protocols or communication with partners, and the employees have been kept in the dark the entire time.
It was revealed in a press release that one of the employees became ill while trying to clean the mold from the ice maker without the necessary training. Furthermore, the bed bugs were the final straw. That is too dangerous to bring home.
The facility was the target of an OSHA complaint made by Workers United, the union representing the employees. The National Labor Relations Board received a complaint about failing to bargain over the same thing and filed it on a national level under unfair labor practices. In their complaint, they listed 151 locations where Starbucks has declined to engage in negotiations, in addition to the Roastery.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Established The First Union
When their union election was held on April 1 of this year, employees at this Starbucks Reserve Roastery became the first Starbucks location in NYC to unionize. Young, queer women make up a large portion of the workforce. Starbucks stores have chosen unionization. This location has more than 100 employees, making it one of the larger shops to be unionized nationwide.
Like those at other unionized stores across the nation, the Roastery’s employees were elected to a union months ago. However, they still need the first contract because Starbucks refuses to bargain in good faith with its employees while continuing to engage in union-busting tactics.
There are currently over 300 allegations of unfair labor practices against the company. Over 35 formal complaints have been filed against Starbucks by NLRB offices across the nation, alleging that the company coerced, threatened, and fired workers because they participated in union activities.
The business has also come under scrutiny from the law for delaying wage increases and benefits from unionized stores. Starbucks has fired over 100 staff members engaged in union organizing since the swell of unionization at the coffee behemoth started. Every hour, Starbucks employees produce beverages worth hundreds of dollars, far exceeding the value they are paid.
The firm’s enormous profits are a direct result of the workforce of its employees. Expanding, mobilizing, and using this power on the shop floor is crucial for striking workers as they fight for safe working conditions and against all injustices experienced within Starbucks’ management and outside of it.
I’ve been writing about LGBTQ issues for more than a decade as a journalist and content writer. I write about things that you care about. LGBTQ+ issues and intersectional topics, such as harmful stories about gender, sexuality, and other identities on the margins of society, I also write about mental health, social justice, and other things. I identify as queer, I’m asexual, I have HIV, and I just became a parent.