PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Workers at a downtown Starbucks store went on strike Friday. At the heart of the matter, they say Starbucks will not recognize their newly formed union.
Just before 6 a.m., a dozen employees traded their tampers and coffee mugs for signs and a spot on the picket line as they went on strike at Starbucks on 12th and Walnut streets.
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“We saw retaliation, discrimination, abuse, bullying, hazing,” said shift manager Kat Pfligler. “And we did everything we could and now the only thing we can do is suspend our work.”
Workers said they voted 6 to 1 in favor of forming a union in January. Since then, they say Starbucks has refused to recognize their rights.
“Unfortunately, it’s top-down, so they’re asking managers to do illegal things that half the time they don’t even know are illegal, including violating our rights, denying our rights, turning down promotions, withholding development conversations, and now they’re withholding our salaries,” Pfligler said.
Now they are looking for support.
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If not Starbucks, anyone on the street who is willing to respect their rights as a union worker.
“We are people who deserve the basic level of respect and human decency,” said Dee Bolling, a barista trainer. “And people come to show their support for us as people and don’t show respect for Starbucks as a company.”
The workers said they had not heard from Starbucks since their strike.
The workers say they plan to remain on strike for 24 hours.
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Starbucks released a statement regarding the strike in Philadelphia:
“We currently have a strike taking place outside 12th and the Walnut store. Starbucks has great partners and we appreciate their contributions. We respect our partners’ right to engage in any legally protected activity or event without retaliation. We are grateful to each partner who continues to work and we always do our best to listen to the concerns of all our partners.