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Starbucks baristas to strike, demand fair staffing, scheduling

Big Apple Starbucks baristas will walk out and march in solidarity with thousands of Starbucks workers across hundreds of cities on Thursday, marking the largest-ever nationwide strike to hit the global coffee corporation.

Unionized and nonunion workers will demand the coffee giant address what they say is a growing staffing and scheduling crisis facing the coffee conglomerate’s baristas across the city.

It’s being dubbed the Red Cup Rebellion.

At a morning strike line, Starbucks workers will picket in front of the company’s Astor Place store from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. They’ll then head up to Midtown, where they’ll join nonunion workers rallying at the Starbucks at 90 Park Ave., at E. 40th Street, to call on the company to follow the city’s Fair Work Week law. Passed in 2017, the law is meant to provide workers with certainty around their schedules to help them sustain themselves and their families. The law requires employers to provide workers with a regular, consistent schedule and give current workers the opportunity to work more regular hours before hiring new employees, among other measures.

Baristas will join elected officials, including Councilmember Keith Powers, along with 32BJ SEIU union members in a show of solidarity with strikers around the nation, and call on the city to investigate complaints by Starbucks workers alleging that the company fails to comply with the law.

Across the country, workers are calling attention to the company’s increasing reliance on big promotion days, like Red Cup Day, which they say bring a flood of customers to stores, without any additional staffing to cover the deluge in orders. Workers earlier this fall filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board over Starbucks’ refusal to bargain around staffing on promotion days.

Over the last two years, around 9,000 Starbucks workers have unionized at more than 360 stores nationwide. So far, the Starbucks at Astor Place and 90 Park Ave. are the chain’s only two unionized locations in New York City.

However, organizers charge that Starbucks has conducted “a coordinated, scorched-earth campaign” to illegally frustrate and stall bargaining. The National Labor Relations Board is currently prosecuting Starbucks at an ongoing trial in Seattle over the company’s refusal to bargain.

Instead of bargaining with workers, organizers say, Starbucks has illegally offered workers at only nonunion stores benefits like credit card tipping that unionized workers have been calling for. Last week, the coffee giant offered 3 percent raises to nonunion workers, a move union workers called “tone deaf” given the company’s record fourth-quarter revenue and the recent 25 percent increases won by unionized auto workers.

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