No Coffee Today: Local Starbucks Workers Go on Strike

The location was closed as workers and supporters stood at the corner of West Devon Avenue and North Broadway early March 22, holding signs to protest the recent schedule changes. 

Unionized Starbucks workers at 6350 N. Broadway participated in a one-day strike after they said Starbucks cut their hours and changed policy without the input of the union. 

The location was closed as workers and supporters stood at the corner of West Devon Avenue and North Broadway early March 22, holding signs to protest the recent schedule changes. 

Ryan Kiefer, a union organizer and shift lead at the Starbucks, said the strike was part of a larger nationwide strike with over 100 stores participating. 

The strike was one of many coordinated by Starbucks Workers United, a union representing Starbucks workers. 

Workers began the process of unionizing the location at West Devon Avenue and North Broadway in August, The Phoenix previously reported

Keifer said some of what workers were protesting included a change in policy preventing supervisors from having overlapping shifts and significant cuts to hours. 

Keifer said the change was made unilaterally without having talks with the union but said he is open to future discussion with Starbucks. 

“They cannot make that change without bargaining with us,” Keifer said. “I’d be happy to talk with them at the table.” 

Ashlyn Parsons, a barista who’s worked at the location for six months, said her hours have been cut in half from when she began working. She said even though business may be down, they still deserve a living wage. 

“Some of us can’t pay our rent, and it’s really hard,” Parsons said. “Even though there’s less business, we deserve to work and have a living wage.” 

Krista Carrington, another barista, shared similar thoughts and said the recent problems were similar to the ones which led them to unionize back in August. 

“Starbucks as a whole is on strike because of unilateral changes across stores,” Carrington said. “But unfair labor practices, as well as cutting hours, and also just changes without consulting us first. That’s essentially why we unionized in the first place.” 

Carrington said in her case, she has gone from working 40 hours a week to working 27 hours a week. She said 27 hours is generous, given that some workers can work as little as 10 hours, if at all. 

As for the impact of this, Carrington said some have had to dip into savings in order to make up for lost hours. 

“It’s not great to dip into them when you have to pay for things like rent,” Carrington said.  “You should just be able to pay for that.” 

 Parsons said they’ve had some customers come up angry the store was closed but said it hasn’t discouraged them.

“We’ve had so many people come through this line and be mad that they couldn’t get their coffee today, and it sucks, but human rights are more important than your morning coffee,” Parsons said  “We love to work at Starbucks. We just wish that it were more of a viable option for people.”

Featured image by Nicky Andrews | The Phoenix

Aidan Cahill

Aidan Cahill

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