Workers walk out of unionized Seattle Starbucks to protest treatment of employees at other stores

Seattle Times staff, The Seattle Times on

Published in Business News

Workers at a Capitol Hill Starbucks walked out Friday to protest the treatment of their colleagues at several other Starbucks locations in Seattle.

The strike followed Starbucks' move this week to rebrand some stores as "Heritage Markets." Among them: the store at First Avenue and Pike Street where workers were attempting to unionize. Employees there were asked to reapply for their positions, but few were selected to remain at the store, according to a worker.

Two other stores, Pike Place Market and First and University, will also be turned into Heritage Markets. Starbucks denied that the Heritage Market plan was related to unions and said the reapplication process was competitive. Union supporters say the strategy is an effort to undermine unionization efforts.


The Capitol Hill store, where workers walked out Friday, was the first in Seattle to unionize as part of a nationwide wave of organizing at the Seattle-based coffee giant. Workers at the store won their union election in March.

The Capitol Hill workers said in a news release Friday they were "sending a message to both corporate, that this tactic is unacceptable, and to their teams at other stores, that all Starbucks workers will fight for one another."

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