Starbucks workers in Southern California are on strike over alleged unfair labor practices

LAKEWOOD, Calif. (KABC)– Starbucks workers at two Southern California stores began a 24-hour strike Monday over alleged unfair labor practices.

A group of workers formed a picket line outside the Lakewood store on Candlewood Street Monday morning and chanted the phrase “No contract, no coffee”. More than 30 employees voted unanimously to go on strike.

Workers at the Barstow site were also expected to go on strike, with union organizers claiming the company had encroached on their right to use the word ‘union’.

Employees claim Starbucks encroached on their right to organize without retaliation and they say the company denied them benefits because they are in a union.

Tyler Keeling, a barista and organizer of Starbucks Workers United, said the company has announced performance improvements like pay rises, sick days and mental health days, but has only rolled them out in stores that aren’t yet unionized.

“We knew we were going to get them eventually, but we also knew that Starbucks would go as far as they could with it and try to keep it over our heads,” Keeling said. “They’re trying to punish stores for unionizing… they’re trying to pretend we don’t exist.”

As early as May, Long Beach was one of the first stores in Southern California to unionize. Nationwide, more than 220 Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since late last year.

On Monday, Starbucks asked the National Labor Relations Board to temporarily suspend all union elections at its US stores in response to allegations of improper coordination between regional NLRB officials and the union.

In a letter sent to the NLRB Monday, Starbucks said an unnamed government official updated the company on numerous issues at the NLRB’s St. Louis office while it was holding an election at a Starbucks store in St. Louis earlier this spring Overland Park, Kansas.

The Seattle coffee giant said the regional office made special arrangements to allow pro-union workers to vote in person at its office, although in-store voting was supposed to be done by postal ballot. Starbucks said regional officials also shared confidential information with the union, including which ballots had arrived in the mail to be counted.

NLRB’s Kayla Blado told Eyewitness News:

“The NLRB does not comment on open cases. The agency has well-established procedures for raising challenges related to handling electoral matters and cases of unfair labor practices Staff – and ultimately the Board – will carefully and objectively review any challenges raised through these established channels, including the opportunity to seek expedited review in both representation and unfair labor practice cases.”

A request for comment from Starbucks was not immediately answered.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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https://abc7.com/starbucks-strike-lakewood-southern-california/12127320/ Starbucks workers in Southern California are on strike over alleged unfair labor practices

Laura Coffey

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