The union representing Starbucks’ workers at a New York state cafe claims the site is being closed by the company in retaliation for the union.
The Workers United union filed a complaint with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board on Friday, accusing the company of violating federal labor laws by announcing it would permanently close an Ithaca, New York store, claiming it was retaliation for workers’ union activism, according to Bloomberg.
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In response, Starbucks said the closure was not related to the store̵[ads1]7;s recent organization, but was due to facilities, staffing and “time and attendance” issues in the store.
“With deep caution and urgency, we work continuously to create the kind of store environment that partners and customers expect from Starbucks. Our goal is to ensure that each partner is supported in their individual situation, and we have immediate opportunities available in the market.”
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Employees at the Ithaca location, located near the Cornell University campus, voted to merge in April.
The workers at the site launched a one-day strike after saying that there was an unsafe situation in the store, and said that a crowded grease trap had spilled waste water and oil on the floor.
“We are opening and closing stores as a regular part of our business,” Starbucks spokeswoman Reggie Borges said Friday, according to the report.
The union is asking the agency to order it to prevent or reverse the closure more quickly.
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“Starbucks does not get away with retaliating in this way,” Evan Sunshine, one of the store’s employees, said in an email to Bloomberg from the union. “No matter what it takes, no matter how long it may take, we will persevere.”
Starbucks, through its attorney, said the company wanted to negotiate with Workers United about the impact on employees.
A Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, became the first in the United States to join a union late last year.
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The company operates more than 34,000 stores worldwide.