Nine Oregon Starbucks join nationwide strike

By COLIN STAUB

Workers at Starbucks locations in Portland and Eugene participated in a nationwide strike of more than 100 union locations on Nov. 17. The strike was timed for the day Starbucks launched its annual “red cup” holiday promotion. 

In Oregon, all seven union shops in Eugene and two in Portland shut down for the day, and workers picketed outside to protest the company’s response to the union effort. After vehemently opposing union efforts and firing supporters around the country, attorneys representing Starbucks have recently begun walking out of bargaining sessions as soon as they begin. Starbucks says it’s because Workers United—the union representing baristas—wants to have a virtual participation option, which the company opposes. Union supporters say it’s just another delay tactic from the company.

A week later, another union Starbucks in Portland (7315 SW Garden Home Road) began a three-day unfair labor practice strike. One motivation for the strike was Starbucks’ decision to begin allowing credit card tips—something workers have long called for—but only at non-union stores. Starbucks claims that rolling out such benefits at union shops is illegal, a claim the National Labor Relations Board denies.

It was the first strike at the Garden Home store, and the first multi-day strike for a Portland-area union Starbucks. Workers held the picket line Nov. 25-27, and the store remained closed all three days.

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