Employees at a Center City Philly Starbucks go on strike, refuse to open store

Employees at the store claim they've had ongoing issues since they unionized.

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Friday, July 22, 2022
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"In any context, this would be considered an abusive relationship and it doesn't change just because it's a professional relationship," the Philadelphia Starbucks store supervisor told Action News.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Workers of the Starbucks at 12th and Walnut streets in Center City Philadelphia are refusing to open the store Friday during a 24-hour strike.

The employees are making allegations of unfair work environments, intimidation, refusal to allow union reps to be present, reduced work hours and retaliation since they voted to form a union.

The strike started at 5:30 a.m. Friday and is expected to end at 5:25 a.m. Saturday.

"It's worth it because this is our livelihood. This is how we pay the bills and we deserve a living wage." said store supervisor Kat Pfligler.

Five Starbucks in Philadelphia are now unionized. Four joined Starbucks Workers United in May and then the store at 12th and Walnut voted to unionize in June.

"Starbucks prides itself on being a progressive company and yet they're withholding benefits and wages from hundred and hundreds of employees that they call partners," Pfligler said. "In any context, this would be considered an abusive relationship and it doesn't change just because it's a professional relationship."

Employees at the store claim they've had ongoing issues since they unionized.

Nearly 200 stores across the country have voted to unionize since last December when workers at a location in Buffalo, New York became the first to join.

Pfligler said 14 out of the 18 employees are striking and they're asking the others not to open the store and withhold their labor.

A Starbucks spokesperson released the following statement to Action News:

"We currently have a strike happening outside the 12th and Walnut store location. Starbucks has great partners and we value their contributions. We respect our partners' right to engage in any legally protected activity or protest without retaliation. We are grateful for each partner who continues to work and we always do our best to listen to the concerns of all our partners."