Starbucks employees in the United States are planning a three-day strike beginning Friday as part of their campaign to unionize the coffee chain’s stores.
According to Starbucks Workers United, the labor group organizing the strike, over 1,000 baristas at 100 stores plan to walk out. The strike will be the longest in the year-long campaign for unionization.
This is Starbucks’ second major strike in less than a month. On November 17, employees at 110 Starbucks locations participated in 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.
Since late last year, more than 264 of Starbucks’ 9,000 company-run stores in the United States have voted to unionize.
Starbucks opposes unionization, claiming that working directly with employees improves the company’s performance. However, the company stated last month that it respects employees’ legally protected right to protest.
Tori Tambellini, a former Starbucks shift supervisor and union organizer who was fired in July, said she plans to picket this weekend in Pittsburgh. Tambellini claims workers are protesting understaffed stores, poor management, and Starbucks’ “scorched earth method of union busting,” which includes closing unionized stores.
Workers United noted that Starbucks recently closed the first store to unionize in Seattle, the company’s hometown. Starbucks stated that the store was closed due to safety concerns.
Starbucks and the union have begun contract negotiations in approximately 50 locations, but no agreements have been reached.
The procedure has been divisive. Workers United has filed at least 446 unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks since late last year, including allegations that the company fired labor organizers and refused to bargain. Meanwhile, the company has filed 47 charges against the union, including allegations that it violated collective bargaining rules by recording sessions and posting the recordings online.
So far, the labor disputes do not appear to be affecting Starbucks’ sales. Starbucks reported a 3% increase in revenue to a record $8.41 billion in the July-September period in November.