BUFFALO, N.Y. — Starbucks employees at Buffalo’s Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street location are on strike Thursday for what they call "unfair labor practices."
They claim that Starbucks is punishing stores who have plans to, or have already, unionized.
“They’ll continue to tell stores that have unionized that we are a lonely island that will not be able to earn the same benefits, and that they will force us to negotiate on every single benefit regardless if we had them before or not," said Roisin Dougherty.
The company says it plans raises and additional training for employees, but only employees at stores that have not unionized or have not shown the intention to unionize.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says that’s because the company does not have the same freedom to make these changes at locations with a union.
Starbucks insists its more than 8,000 company-owned U.S. stores function best when it works directly with its employees, which it calls “partners.” Many employees in the Buffalo area work at more than one store depending on demand, Starbucks says, and it wants to have the flexibility to move them between stores.
Starbucks Workers United says the strike is only for one day and employees will back to work Friday.
The Delaware and Chippewa location became the sixth Starbucks locally to unionize last month.