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


Staff on the New York Metropolis Starbucks Reserve Roastery within the Meatpacking District have been on strike because the starting of final week in opposition to unsafe work situations 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 among Starbucks’s flagship shops refuse to deal with work situations which might be proving to be well being hazards: the shop had a latest outbreak of bedbugs within the break room and there was black mould within the ice machines for months. 

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

One employee, Laura Garza, says, “I actually have gotten sick from trying to scrub the mould from the ice machine with out correct coaching, and the mattress bugs have been simply the final straw for us. We can’t threat bringing that residence.”

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

Staff at this Starbucks Reserve Roastery — lots of who’re younger, queer, ladies — have been the primary Starbucks store in NYC to unionize, profitable their union election on April 1 of this 12 months. They’re one among twelve Starbucks areas to have unionized in downstate New York, and one among seven within the metropolis. Nationally, over 250 Starbucks shops have elected to unionize. With over a 100 staff at this location, this is without doubt one of the larger outlets 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 follow costs, 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 big started, Starbucks has fired over 100 staff who have 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 looking for a path in the direction of unionization, administration has labored time beyond regulation to keep up an air of worry, usually even depriving staff of information of their rights and that they’ve a union. However, because the strike started at Roastery, staff have been picketing outdoors the ability on daily basis, 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 a whole bunch of {dollars} value of drinks each hour, creating worth far past what they’re compensated for. The corporate’s huge 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 struggle not only for secure situations, however in opposition to each injustice suffered underneath Starbucks’s administration and past.

Sou Mi

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


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