Union Cries Foul as Starbucks Announces the Closing of 16 Locations

In June, Starbucks workers at an Ithaca, New York, store insisted that their location was being shuttered in retaliation for union activism.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Citing safety reasons, Starbucks has announced it would close its store at the busy Union Station Train Concourse in Washington, D.C.

The location counts among the 16 scheduled to close by the end of the month. Stores in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle are closing.

The store said the following are closing by the end of July:

1st and Los Angeles (Doubletree), Los Angeles

2nd and San Pedro, Los Angeles

Hollywood and Vine, Los Angeles

Hollywood and Western, Los Angeles

Ocean Front Walk and Moss, Los Angeles

Santa Monica and Westmount, Los Angeles

4th and Morrison, Portland

Gateway, Portland, Oregon

10th and Chestnut, Philadelphia

23rd and Jackson, Seattle

505 Union Station, Seattle

East Olive Way, Seattle

Highway 99 and Airport Road, Everett, Washington

Roosevelt Square, Seattle

Westlake Center, Seattle

Union Station Train Concourse, Washington, D.C.

“You’re also seeing firsthand the challenges facing our communities – personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use, and more,” Denise Stroud and Denise Nelson, Starbucks’ vice presidents, wrote in a letter to employees this week.

“With stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores too. We read every incident report you file – it’s a lot,” they wrote.

In a separate letter, Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz shared a set of principles and a new partnership to reinvent the company’s next chapter.

“The state of the world, the conditions of our stores and communities, and the hopes and dreams and lives of each of our partners are top of mind as I write you this morning,” Schultz wrote.

“Since my return in April, I have been learning so much through open, honest, and often vulnerable conversations and collaboration sessions across stores, manufacturing plants, and in the Starbucks Support Center,” he continued.

“It’s clear we’re living in a changing world where economic, societal, and operational pressures are colliding. We’re seeing unprecedented cultural division and economic trauma – all while navigating a pandemic, and it seems as though every day there is a new crisis to address.”

However, skeptics abound, particularly among the unionized sector of Starbucks.

In a tweet, Starbucks Workers United Seattle questioned whether the decision to close one of the Seattle locations was made in good faith.

“Is this bargaining in good faith,” the union tweeted. “We will not let them get away with this.”

In June, Starbucks workers at an Ithaca, New York, store insisted that their location was being shuttered in retaliation for union activism.

The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, stating that the company has made “a clear attempt to scare workers across the country.”

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