Starbucks union workers: Concessions won following store closures, negotiations

SEATTLE — After Starbucks announced the closure of multiple stores, including six in western Washington that prompted some Seattle workers to protest against alleged union busting, the union representing workers announced on Friday that workers from two closed stores had won concessions after negotiations.

According to a release from the union, the workers from the Olive Way and 5th Street locations are being relocated to a nearby store by Aug. 1, which will ensure there are no gaps in their schedules. The union also said that their hours will remain equivalent to what they previously worked.

“The two-month guarantee of substantially equivalent hours for partners at their new store really helps ensure that there will be no gap in our employment. Starbucks advertises these great benefits but they cut our hours earlier in the year and uncertainty about the length of time between stores had many partners worried that we were at risk of not having enough hours to qualify for our healthcare,” said Stephanie N., a barista at the Olive Way store.

The workers also won the right of first refusal to return to the now-closed stores should Starbucks decide to reopen them, according to the union.

Union representatives said the National Labor Relations Board had issued 16 official complaints against the company, which encompasses more than 70 charges and 500 allegations.

Starbucks union workers have been arguing that the coffee giant has been closing stores in retaliation of unions being formed.

However, Starbucks corporate has said any claims of retaliation were unequivocally false.

A spokesperson told KIRO 7 the stores were being closed due to how many crime-related complaints were logged at each store and that rates of drug use, theft and assault were considered. The spokesperson says the decision has nothing to do with two (Olive Way in Capitol Hill and Fifth Avenue in the International District) of the five locations being union stores.

On July 18, KIRO 7 reported that CEO Howard Schultz said in a leaked video that more store closings were pending, just five days after the coffee giant confirmed the shuttering of 16 locations nationwide.

Starbucks confirmed the authenticity of the footage to Insider but declined to say when or where the video was recorded. The company also declined to detail which other stores face closure.

KIRO 7 reached out to Starbucks for a statement about the negotiations leading to the concessions that the union announced, but has not heard back.