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Colorado Starbucks workers hit picket line

Workers at four Colorado stores walked out for a strike saying they're fighting for better wages and scheduling.

DENVER — Workers at numerous Starbucks locations in and around the Denver Metro Area are hitting the picket line Wednesday to demand "livable wages" and consistent scheduling.

Organizers said workers planned to strike alongside employees from more than 100 stores across the country. They're also fighting for their right to unionize without fear or intimidation.

The strike comes a day before the company’s annual shareholder meeting. Workers are striking at the following locations between 6 a.m. and noon Wednesday.

  • Garden of the Gods location in Colorado Springs
  • 3rd and Columbine in Denver
  • Rock Creek Circle in Superior
  • 144th and I-25 in Westminster 

“We, and partners across the nation, have been pushed to strike and to unionize as a result of corporate’s negligence and near-downright contempt for partners for partners when we ask for the bare minimum," the organizing committee said in a statement.

"We stand in solidarity with the 100+ stores that are also striking today. We hope our actions bring Starbucks to the bargaining table and to give us baristas a say in OUR workplace.” 

In response to the protests, Starbucks said as part of its statement that the protests were at a "small subset of union-represented" stores.

Starbucks also countered claims above wages by saying its employees earn on average, $17.50 an hour and have the "highest-rated" benefits for hourly workers in the U.S. which include things like no-cost mental health services, and paid parental leave. The company also offers a 401K match.

"Rather than publicizing rallies and protests, we encourage Workers United to live up to their obligations by responding to our proposed sessions and meeting us in-person to move the good faith bargaining process forward," Starbucks said in its statement.

The strike is part of a national day of action, where Starbucks workers from coast to coast will come together. A similar event took place in December.

Last month, an administrative law judge sided with workers at a Denver Starbucks and agreed that workers were retaliated against in various ways after a decision to unionize last year.

In her decision, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)  Amita Baman Tracy ordered Starbucks to reinstate one fired worker and to expunge warning letters from two employee records. The company was also ordered to pay back wages to the fired worker. 

The ruling followed an August 2022 hearing in which workers testified about what they called retaliatory and illegal conduct by company agents and managers.

Tracy found that Starbucks committed unfair labor practices by telling employees they would not be eligible for wage increases or promotions if they selected the union as their bargaining representative.

Starbucks released a statement related to Tracy's findings.

“We disagree with the decision of the Administrative Law Judge and maintain that any actions taken at our Colfax Ave. store in Denver were lawful and consistent with Starbucks policies. We are considering all options to obtain a full legal review of the matter as we work to side-by-side with our partners to deliver the Starbucks experience and reinvent our company for the future.”


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