Long Island Starbucks workers join nationwide strike

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By Dan Sears

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Starbucks workers from three of the chain’s Long Island stores will be striking Thursday as part of a nationwide job action. 

The workers at Starbucks stores in Lynbrook, Garden City and Farmingville will walk off the job joining thousands at more than 200 of the company’s locations to protest staffing issues, scheduling and other issues that they say the coffee giant refuses to negotiate. 

The strike was organized by Starbucks Workers United, the union representing more than 9,000 workers in over 360 stores. Called the “Red Cup Rebellion,” the strike is scheduled on Red Cup Day, when the company hands out tens of thousands of free reusable cups, one of its busiest customer traffic days of the year. 

As part of the strike, workers will demand Starbucks turn off mobile ordering on future promotion days, which company executives are scheduling with increasing frequency, according to the union. In conjunction with the strikes, union workers will be visiting with their non-union counterparts at other stores, and students and community groups will be organizing rallies and other actions in support. 

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Liv Ryan, a worker at the Starbucks store in Lynbrook, said she is striking because union busting has led her to lose benefits. 

“Starbucks wants to be seen as a progressive company but between the union busting and the false claims that we support terrorism, I can’t imagine anyone is falling for it anymore,” she said in a written statement. “I know the union truly has the workers back because I know what it feels like to lack any support from our company.” 

Starbucks downplayed any potential impact of the strike, saying it was only taking place at a small portion of its 9,600 company-owned stores. Strikes have had little impact on the company’s sales. Starbucks reported its revenue rose 12 percent for a record $36 billion for its 2023 fiscal year that ended Oct. 1. 

“We remain committed to working with all partners, side-by-side, to elevate the everyday, and we hope that Workers United’s priorities will shift to include the shared success of our partners and negotiating contracts for those they represent,” Starbucks said in a statement. 

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Starbucks has opposed the union effort and has yet to reach a labor agreement with any of the stores that have voted to unionize. Regional offices with the National Labor Relations Board have issued 111 complaints against Starbucks for unfair labor practices, including refusal to bargain. Starbucks says Workers United is refusing to schedule bargaining sessions. 

Anthony Price, who works at the Starbucks store in The Gallery at Westbury in Garden City, said he is striking because his coworkers are more than numbers in a system. 

“I want to show corporate that they won’t get my labor if they’re not willing to treat us with the respect we deserve,” he said in the statement. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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