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"No contract, no coffee": Ann Arbor Starbucks stores participate in nationwide strike

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Emily Blumberg
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Employees of the unionized Main Street and West Liberty Starbucks hold up signs asking the company to agree to negotiate with workers.

Workers at three Ann Arbor Starbucks stores were on strike Thursday.

The Ann Arbor locations — at Jackson and Zeeb, Glencoe Crossing, and Main Street and West Liberty — were some of the more than 100 stores participating in what organizers with Starbucks Workers United called the "Red Cup Rebellion." Union leaders aid they were fighting against Starbucks’ unfair labor practices.

Four Ann Arbor locations voted to unionize in June. One was the Main Street and West Liberty location, where protesters held up signs like, “No contract, no coffee” and “People over profit.”

An employee and union member, Ryan Alioa, said lawyers for Starbucks have repeatedly dismissed employees’ attempts to negotiate for fair treatment.

“Starbucks is walking out of negotiations frequently,” he said. "Their lawyers just get up and leave, and so this is our way of showing them that we mean it about organizing and unionizing.”

Union member and Main Street employee Isabella Martinez said she hopes the strike will prompt Starbucks to change their labor policies and agree to negotiations.

“I hope they’re willing to bargain with us so that we can actually make sure that our hours are guaranteed each week and that if there are changes to our hours, we’re notified beforehand,” she said. “We want guaranteed sick pay and protection from being illegally fired.”

In an emailed statement, a Starbucks spokesperson said the company has "continued to engage Workers United representatives in a good faith effort to move the bargaining process forward."

The company said it has "shown up to more than 50 bargaining sessions across the country and has another 60 scheduled in the coming weeks."

Starbucks Workers United has unionized more than 250 stores across the United States since the summer of 2021.

Emily is a junior at the University of Michigan double majoring in Communications and Creative Writing.
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