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Starbucks workers' strike expands to all unionized stores in Eugene

Brian Bull
A sign outside the empty Starbucks at Franklin and Villard advertises a picket event at the store near downtown Eugene.

As of today, all unionized Starbucks stores in Eugene are on strike.

Many commuters stopping by for their daily latte this week could find a dark and empty Starbucks instead. In Eugene, seven out of eight stores voted to join a union, and in wake of what they say are unfair labor practices on part of the Starbucks Corporation, those workers have taken to the picket lines.

Starbucks workers on strike
Brian Bull
Starbucks employees Ian Meagher (left) and Nik Vuong (right) outside the store on 7th Avenue near downtown Eugene.

Ian Meagher and Nik Vuong stood with co-workers outside the 7th Avenue Starbucks near Eugene’s downtown area, with signs calling for better conditions and treatment of employees.

“We’re able to act as a cohesive union, and not just a bunch of stores that happens to pass the vote but aren’t really doing anything about it,” Meagher told KLCC. “We’re showing management that we’re not going to tolerate the abuse.”

The striking workers say Starbucks administrators have been exceptionally stringent with time, uniforms, and other aspects of their workplace culture, in efforts to discipline and fire those who make up the core union effort. Vuong says she’s seen managers come in for one-on-one discussions that are intended to dissuade and discourage Starbucks employees from joining unions or demanding better salaries, working conditions, and benefits.

“I really appreciate seeing all these other union members from other stores coming to support us at our store,” said Vuong. “It was just nice to see everybody show up and be a resource and a support for us.”

A Starbucks spokesperson says the company has great partners and they “respect their right to engage in any legally protected activity or protest without retaliation.”

The sole Starbucks that has not unionized is at Oakway. A Starbuck Workers United member says there was some union support there, but not enough to officially form one.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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