Workers at Duluth’s Woodland Starbucks walk off the job, file petition to unionize

Starbucks workers across the country, and in Duluth, walked off the job in support of better scheduling, staffing, and wages. It coincides with Starbucks promotional ‘Red Cup Day’ one of the busiest days of the year.

The Woodland Starbucks was the only location in Duluth to participate and joins over 360 stores nationwide. The majority of these stores are part of the Workers United union, but the Woodland Starbucks workers are in the process of unionizing.

Mac Stone, a 2 year Partner of the store, told WDIO that they’ve filed a petition to join the union, and in the next 6-8 weeks workers will vote.

Stone explained the focus on staffing, “We are constantly understaffed. Wait times are over 40 minutes for drinks. I feel like all the partners are getting burnt out so fast. We’ve had some of the biggest sales days in our stores history in the past year.”

Stone says there have also been issues of cleanliness at the store because it’s too busy and there’s not enough staff.

According to Stone, there have been issues will scheduling, “A lot of partners at our store are college students and will often get scheduled on days or times that they have classes.”

“They have to make a decision: Do I skip a class that I’m paying for or do I potentially lose my job?”

Starbuck employees at Woodland make $15/hr.- whereas the Starbucks Union is currently fighting for a base pay of $20/hr..

“It’s up to the corporation of Starbucks, whether or not they’re going to allow us to hire more people.” Mac explains, “The corporation itself hand out how many labor hours we earn. So our managers can only schedule so many people.”

Starbucks has issued this statement:

“We are aware that Workers United has publicized a day of action at a small subset of our U.S. stores today. We remain committed to working with all partners, side-by-side, to elevate the everyday, and we hope that Workers United’s priorities will shift to include the shared success of our partners and working to negotiate contracts for those they represent.

Starbucks has a long history of surprising and delighting our customers with periodic offers and promotions such as Double Star Days, Thurs-yays, and Red Cup Day.

We understand that these promotional days may change store patterns and traffic, and that’s why our retail leaders have the flexibility to build and adjust staffing schedules to reflect the unique and dynamic needs of each store – balancing store resources and expected customer demand to ensure partners (employees) are on the floor when they’re needed most. Notably, our store schedules are created three weeks in advance with our partners availability and preferences at the forefront and our stores are often provided additional labor hours to augment staffing in support of planned promotional days.

Starbucks is dedicated to partner-centric scheduling and providing partners with hours that alight with their individual needs and preferences is a top priority. This is reflected in Starbucks commitment to diligently create work schedules that carefully balance the availability of our partners with the staffing needs of individual stores. To achieve this, Starbucks collects a range of preferred, minimum, and maximum hours to build a complete picture of partner preferences and assist store managers in scheduling and managing their workforce. This improved scheduling protocol will enable partners to contribute to the personalization of their ideal schedules. Together, these efforts will help Starbucks improve the stability, flexibility, and consistency of schedules.

We call on Workers United to respond to our invitations to bargain contracts for the stores they represent – Workers United hasn’t agreed to meet to progress contract bargaining in more than five months.”