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Thousands of Starbucks workers go on a one-day strike on one of the chain’s busiest days of year

Thousands of Starbucks workers go on a one-day strike on one of the chain’s busiest days of year

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Thousands of Starbucks workers go on a one-day strike on one of the chain's busiest days of year

Workers at more than 200 U.S. Starbucks locations walked off the job Thursday in what organizers said was the largest strike yet in the 2-year-old effort to unionize the company’s stores.

The Workers United union chose Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day to stage the walkout since it’s usually one of the busiest days of the year. Starbucks expects to give away thousands of reusable cups Thursday to customers who order holiday drinks.

The union said it was expecting more than 5,000 workers to take part in its “Red Cup Rebellion.” Workers were expected to picket for part of the day and visit non-union stores the rest of the day, the union said. Around 30 stores also staged walkouts on Wednesday.
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Juniper Schweitzer, who has worked for Starbucks for 16 years, said she loves the company and its ideals but believes it’s not living up to them.

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“They have promised the world to us and they have not delivered,” said Schweitzer, who was picketing outside her Chicago store on Thursday.

Frequent promotions like Red Cup Day or buy-one-get-one-free offers put added stress on workers, who she said have no ability to switch off mobile orders or otherwise control the workflow.

“I mean, you can imagine the Starbucks orders. Decaf grande non-fat, three-and-a-half Splenda mocha with no whip. Multiply that by 100 and you have just drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, drink, drink,” she said. “We just have basically an infinite amount of drinks and we’re understaffed and we’re underpaid and we’re sick of it.”
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Edwin Palmasolis, a Starbucks employee for more than two years, joined the picket line Thursday in front of his New York store. His store voted to unionize last year, but so far Starbucks and the union haven’t started bargaining. He thinks a contract would help improve working conditions at his busy Manhattan store.

“It’s been more of a downgrade than an uphill for us. It’s been exhausting trying to deal with their retaliation and not much of a change has been made in the past year,” he said.

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Thursday’s strike was the fifth major labor action by Starbucks workers since a store in Buffalo, New York, became the first to unionize in late 2021. Workers at 110 stores walked out last year on Red Cup Day; most recently, a strike in June protested reports that Starbucks had removed Pride displays from its stores.

Arlene Geiger, left, holds a sign supporting Starbucks workers outside a Starbucks on New York’s Upper West Side, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. Thousands of workers at more than 200 U.S. Starbucks stores plan to walk off the job Thursday in what organizers say is the largest strike yet in the two-year-old effort to unionize the company’s stores. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

But the strikes have had little impact on Starbucks’ sales. For its 2023 fiscal year, which ended Oct. 1, Starbucks reported its revenue rose 12% to a record $36.0 billion.
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Starbucks said Thursday that many of the stores with striking workers remained open, staffed by supervisors, managers and employees who chose not to strike or visited from nearby stores to pick up additional hours.

“We have nearly 10,000 stores open right now delighting our customers with the joy of Red Cup Day,” the company said.

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At least 363 company-operated Starbucks stores in 41 states have voted to unionize since late 2021. The Starbucks effort was at the leading edge of a period of labor activism that has also seen strikes by Amazon workers, auto workers and Hollywood writers and actors. At least 457,000 workers have participated in 315 strikes in the U.S. just this year, according to Johnnie Kallas, a Ph.D. candidate and the project director of Cornell University’s Labor Action Tracker.

Starbucks opposes the unionization effort and has yet to reach a labor agreement with any of the stores that have voted to unionize. The process has been contentious; regional offices with the National Labor Relations Board have issued 111 complaints against Starbucks for unfair labor practices, including refusal to bargain. Starbucks says Workers United is refusing to schedule bargaining sessions.
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Starbucks noted that it has started bargaining with the Teamsters union, which organized a Starbucks store outside of Pittsburgh in June 2022. But the two sides have not reached a labor agreement. An employee answering the phone at the store Thursday said it wasn’t participating in the strike. 

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Star Entertainment says Hard Rock-led group weighs bid, shares surge

Star Entertainment says Hard Rock-led group weighs bid, shares surge

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Star Entertainment says Hard Rock-led group weighs bid, shares surge

Star Entertainment (SGR.AX), opens new tab said on Monday a consortium led by Florida-based Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos is considering a bid for the cash-strapped Australian firm, sending its shares 20% higher.

A potential takeover by entertainment giant Hard Rock would provide a much-needed financial lifeline to Star, which has been plagued by a regulatory inquiry into its flagship Sydney casino operation and an executive exodus.

Star, which had a market value of A$1.29 billion ($863.66 million) as of Monday’s close, said it has been approached by a consortium of investors which includes Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts (Pacific).

The company said it understands Hard Rock Hotels is a local partner of Hard Rock.

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Earlier in the day, Star said it had received “inbound interest from a number of external parties” but flagged none of them had yet resulted in “substantive discussions”.

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Red Lobster seeks bankruptcy protection with $100 mln in financing commitments

Red Lobster seeks bankruptcy protection with $100 mln in financing commitments

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Red Lobster seeks bankruptcy protection with $100 mln in financing commitments

U.S.-based restaurant chain Red Lobster has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Florida court after securing $100 million in financing commitments from its existing lenders, the company said on Sunday.

The company listed its assets and liabilities to be between $1 billion and $10 billion, according to a court filing.

Red Lobster said its restaurants will be open and operate as usual during the bankruptcy proceedings, and plans to reduce its locations as well as pursue a sale of substantially all its assets.

The restaurant chain also said it has entered into a “stalking horse” purchase agreement to sell its business to an entity formed and controlled by its existing term lenders.

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“This restructuring is the best path forward for Red Lobster. It allows us to address several financial and operational challenges and emerge stronger and re-focused on our growth,” said Jonathan Tibus, CEO of Red Lobster.

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BMW imported 8,000 vehicles into US with parts from banned Chinese supplier, Senate report says

BMW imported 8,000 vehicles into US with parts from banned Chinese supplier, Senate report says

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BMW imported 8,000 vehicles into US with parts from banned Chinese supplier, Senate report says

German automaker BMW (BMWG.DE), opens new tab imported at least 8,000 Mini Cooper vehicles into the United States with electronic components from a banned Chinese supplier, a U.S. Senate report released on Monday said.

A report by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden’s staff said BMW imported 8,000 Mini Coopers with parts from a Chinese supplier banned under a 2021 law and that BMW continued to import products with the banned parts until at least April.

BMW Group said in an email it had “taken steps to halt the importation of affected products.”

The company will be conducting a service action to replace the specific parts, adding it “has strict standards and policies regarding employment practices, human rights, and working conditions, which all our direct suppliers must follow.”

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Congress in 2021 passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) law to strengthen enforcement of laws to prevent the import of goods from China’s Xinjiang region believed to have been produced with forced labor by members of the country’s Uyghur minority group. China denies the allegations.

“Automakers’ self-policing is clearly not doing the job,” Wyden said, urging the Customs and Border Protection agency to “take a number of specific steps to supercharge enforcement and crack down on companies that fuel the shameful use of forced labor in China.” Customs and Border Protection did not immediately comment.

The report found that Bourns Inc, a California-based auto supplier, had sourced components from Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group (JWD). That Chinese company was added to the UFLPA Entity List in December, which means its products are presumed to be made with forced labor. 

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