‘Frustrated Customers Equals Frustrated Employees’: Midlands Starbucks employees participated in National Union Strike
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Thursday, Starbucks employees across the state joined thousands of workers nationwide walking off the job in what they say is a push for better working conditions.
The Saluda Pointe Starbucks in Lexington closed its doors midday after their workers went on strike for better working conditions and pay.
“Unfortunately this location has gotten a lot of intimidation and legal union busting. A lot of partners have had their hours cut by 30% in some cases,” said Vijay Tripathi, the Starbucks United Workers leader for the Midlands.
Tripathi, along with other employees joined an estimated 5,000 workers across the country participating in what organizers called The Red Cup Rebellion.
”Honk if you’re underpaid” was a message on a few of the signs held by Tripathi and other employees that voiced their concerns of working conditions and pay.
This was an effort to unionize the company’s stores. This is the second straight year workers organized this protest with Red Cup day being the highest grossing day of the year.
Labor Attorney Jay Babb spoke to WIS on the advantages and disadvantages of unionization in South Carolina.
“The advantage of unionizing is that it gives a voice to the workforce where individuals may otherwise not have a voice to by collectively working together to negotiate bargain with the employer. Some of the disadvantages of unionizing is certainly for the companies perspective may be increased in cost, being more difficult for employees individuals concerns to be heard versus the overall concerns of the union but typically the employer doesn’t want a major cause related to the labor and the pay and the workforce,” said Babb.
The strike is called to last for one day and employees are scheduled to resume normal work hours the following day.
In a statement provided to the Associated Press, Starbucks said many of its stores across the country remained open.
“We have nearly 10,000 stores open right now delighting our customers with joy of Red Cup Day.”
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