Last week, Starbucks baristas in Seattle joined the Starbucks worker unionization efforts occurring throughout the country. These include the 5th Avenue and Pike Place locations, as well as the 2344 Eastlake Ave. location. Starbucks employees have begun their strikes in front of the stores to call attention to their accusation that the Starbucks company partakes in ‘unfair labor practices.’
The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the work culture at Starbucks and the challenges employees faced. Starbucks workers began facing extreme interactions with customers regarding mask mandates that made employees feel unsafe in their workplace. Tensions rose as Starbucks made cuts in employee benefits under the false claim that the company was financially struggling.
Starbucks workers are demanding raises, the addition of a setting for customers to tip in-store using their credit cards, and larger store sizes to keep up with the growing foot traffic. Their primary mission is to help regain control over company changes and policies, to better represent their needs.
Starbucks workers engaged in union activities have faced penalties from the company as Starbucks has made an effort to end unionization efforts.