• Matt Esnayra

Starbucks baristas strike in Lakewood over unfair labor practices

Baristas gathered outside the Starbucks on Candlewood Street in Lakewood to protest over allegations the coffee shop engages in unfair labor practices.


Employees alleged the coffee chain altered store hours, denied benefits, and has been delaying contract negotiations with Starbucks Workers United, the union that represents the coffee shop's employees.

  • The workers marched on the sidewalk and chanted “No Contract, No Coffee,” with pre-made and handmade signs.

  • On Friday, Starbucks Workers United filed a Corrective Action Form alleging that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz “intervene with, restrain, and coerce employees in the excuse of their right to form a union.”

Why it matters:

One of the most significant grievances by employees was when Schultz unveiled additional benefits for employees stating those benefits wouldn’t extend to union members. This action ignited Starbucks Workers United members to file a complaint to the National Labor Board, per NPR.

  • In May, Schultz announced that the coffee giant would provide expanded training, improved sick leave, and credit card tipping.

  • All Starbucks employees are going to receive a pay raise to $15 an hour.

Starbucks workers at 55 stores in at least 17 states have held strikes. The Starbucks in Santa Cruz has been on strike since Saturday, according to NBC 4.

  • Striking Workers at the Starbucks in Barstow have claimed management has interfered with baristas from even saying the word ‘union.’

What they're saying:

Tyler Keeling, a barista and union member, conveyed to the LA Times that Starbucks employees “who weren’t sure what a union even was before are out here leading the chant and celebrating and holding signs and picketing together,” Keeling said. “We have all these people from different unions and organizations supporting us. There’s just this joy that we all share right now.”

  • Starbucks barista Crystal Villarreal told Los Angeles NBC 4 that Starbucks, “We don’t have to settle for the unfair treatment or the low wages,” said Starbucks barista trainer Crystal Villarreal. “We can fight for more, and it’s possible.”

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