In light of safety concerns for Starbucks employees, the Starbucks corporation has decided to close a total of 16 stores in the United States. Six of these locations are in the state of Washington. The coffee company will also be closing stores in California and Oregon. One store location will close in Washington, D.C., and another in Pennsylvania.
This decision has become a topic of political commentary because of how safety concerns relate to the political leadership of a geographical region.
In their letter to employees informing them of the shutdown of these stores, Starbucks did not address the concerns of Starbucks unions attached to the closing locations. Starbucks Workers United Seattle, the Seattle Starbucks Union, is against the company’s decision to close these stores. They claim that the shutdown is not because of safety concerns, as Starbucks officials state, but is instead in retaliation for unionization efforts. However, government public records in these closing locations reflect the high crime levels and increase in safety concerns for those living and operating in these areas. For instance, according to the Seattle Police Department’s Crime Dashboard, the rate of violent and property crimes has increased in Seattle since 2019.
Starbucks issued a statement to its employees recognizing the incident reports that have been filed showing the increasing concern of a lack of professional and personal safety. These incident reports recount employees experiencing things such as violence and public drug use from citizens in the communities they serve.
These are the Starbucks locations that will be shut down by the end of July 2022 in the state of Washington:
- 23rd & Jackson: 2300 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98144
- Roosevelt Square: 6417 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
- East Olive Way: 1600 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98102
- 505 Union Station: Union Station, 505 5th Ave S #505, Seattle, WA 98104
- Westlake Center: Westlake Center Mall, 400 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101
- Hwy 99 & Airport Rd: 11802 Evergreen Way, Everett, WA 98204
Recently Starbucks’ interim CEO, Howard Schultz, stated that although these stores are “not unprofitable,” more will continue to shut down throughout the country.