‘The Mattress Bugs Have been the Final Straw for Us’: Starbucks Staff on the NYC Roastery Strike towards Unsafe Work Situations – Left Voice


Staff on the New York Metropolis Starbucks Reserve Roastery within the Meatpacking District have been on strike for the reason that starting of final week towards unsafe work circumstances and the multi-billion greenback company’s refusal to discount in good religion with the union for a primary contract. The placing staff notice how managers at one in all Starbucks’s flagship shops refuse to deal with work circumstances which can be proving to be well being hazards: the shop had a latest outbreak of bedbugs within the break room and there was black mildew within the ice machines for months. 

Two staff who spoke with Left Voice beneath circumstances of anonymity described how administration instructed them to discard any ice with mildew in it and keep it up, with out addressing the foundation of the issue. When the bedbug infestation occurred, staff had been requested to take away their belongings from the break room, however weren’t advised why. It was solely days later that they learnt of the mattress bug infestation; the fumigation and cleansing for which, staff imagine, had been substandard.

One employee, Laura Garza, says, “I personally have gotten sick from making an attempt to scrub the mildew from the ice machine with out correct coaching, and the mattress bugs had been simply the final straw for us. We can’t danger bringing that residence.”

Staff United, the union consultant of the employees, filed an OSHA criticism towards the power in addition to a nationwide Unfair Labor Apply cost with the Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the ”failure to discount” and listed the Roastery and 151 different places the place Starbucks has refused to start bargaining. 

Staff at this Starbucks Reserve Roastery — lots of who’re younger, queer, girls — had been the primary Starbucks store in NYC to unionize, profitable their union election on April 1 of this yr. They’re one in all twelve Starbucks places to have unionized in downstate New York, and one in all seven within the metropolis. Nationally, over 250 Starbucks shops have elected to unionize. With over a 100 staff at this location, this is among the larger retailers to have unionized nationally. 

Though it has been months since they received their elections, staff on the Roastery, like different unionized shops throughout the nation, nonetheless don’t have a primary contract as Starbucks refuses to discount in good religion with staff whereas persevering with their union-busting practices. The corporate is dealing with over 300 unfair labor observe expenses, and NLRB places of work across the nation have issued Starbucks over 35 official complaints, citing it for coercing, threatening, and firing staff over union actions and withholding wage will increase and advantages from unionizing shops. Because the wave of unionization on the espresso large started, Starbucks has fired over 100 staff who had been organizing for a union.

Though the shop has over 100 staff, not everyone seems to be out on the picket strains, with many fearing retaliation from administration. On the Roastery and each different retailer that has unionized or is in search of a path in the direction of unionization, administration has labored time beyond regulation to keep up an air of worry, typically even depriving staff of information of their rights and that they’ve a union. However, for the reason that strike started at Roastery, staff have been picketing outdoors the power daily, forcing it to shut early the previous couple of evenings. Staff on the picket additionally spoke about how administration was bringing in scabs from the yet-to-open Empire State Constructing location to work on the retailer.

Staff at Starbucks make lots of of {dollars} price of drinks each hour, creating worth far past what they’re compensated for. The corporate’s large income are a direct product of staff’ labor. For placing staff, it’s important to develop, mobilize, and use this energy of the store flooring to combat not only for secure circumstances, however towards each injustice suffered beneath Starbucks’s administration and past.

Sou Mi

Sou Mi is an activist primarily based in New York Metropolis.


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