Starbucks workers plan 3-day strike at 100 U.S. stores

Starbucks workers across the United States plan to stage a three-day strike starting Friday as part of their efforts to unionize the coffee chain.

More than 1,000 baristas at 100 stores are planning to strike, according to the Starbucks Workers United, which organized the event. The strike will be the longest in the year-long union campaign.

This is the second major strike by Starbucks U.S. workers in less than a month. On November 17, workers at 110 Starbucks stores went on a one-day strike. The effort coincides with Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day, when the company gives away reusable cups to customers who order festive drinks.

Since the end of last year, more than 264 of Starbucks’ 9,000 company-operated stores in the United States have voted to unionize.

Starbucks has opposed the unionization effort, saying the company works better when it works directly with employees. But the company said last month that it respected employees’ legal right to protest.

Tori Tambellini, a former Starbucks shift supervisor and union organizer who was fired in July, said she will picket this weekend in Pittsburgh. Tambellini said workers are protesting understaffed stores, mismanagement and what she calls Starbucks’ “scorched-earth approach to union-busting,” including closing unionized stores.

The United Workers noted that Starbucks recently closed its first unionized store in Seattle, where the company is based. Starbucks said the store was closed for safety reasons.

Starbucks and the union have begun contract negotiations at about 50 stores, but have yet to reach any agreement.

This process has been controversial. Workers unions have filed at least 446 unfair labor-practice charges against Starbucks since late last year, including when the company fired labor organizers and refused to bargain, according to the National Labor Relations Board. Meanwhile, the company has filed 47 charges against the union, including allegations that it violated bargaining rules when it taped meetings and posted the recordings online.

So far, labor disputes don’t appear to be denting Starbucks’ sales. Starbucks said in November that its revenue for the July-September period rose 3% to a record $8.41 billion.

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