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Strikes shut down two local Starbucks as part of national protest

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Raymon Troncoso
/
WJCT News
Union members picket outside Starbucks on San Jose and Ricky Drive in Mandarin on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.

Union strikes shut down two Jacksonville Starbucks on Thursday as part of a national protest against management.

Nearly 2,000 workers across 112 stores formed picket lines on Red Cup Day, a promotional event featuring holiday-theme reusable cups that serves as one of the chain's busiest days each year.

In Jacksonville, fewer than two dozen picketing workers shut down the San Marco Square Starbucks and the location on San Jose and Ricky Drive in Mandarin. The two stores were the only Jacksonville locations to unionize earlier this year and were among the first handful in Florida.

Mason Boykin, a shift supervisor and union member at the San Jose Starbucks, said they've been disappointed with management's negotiating behavior since the vote.

"October 25th was the date that we picked out of the ones they gave us [to negotiate], and a couple days before we were supposed to go into bargaining, they canceled on us," Boykin said. "No notice, no explanation as to why, along with no further proposed dates, and since then we've just been in this silence for about a month."

Striking baristas, which Starbucks refers to as partners, are asking residents to avoid Starbucks for the duration of the single-day strike and reach out to baristas for information on local and national solidarity funds as negotiations with corporate offices continue.

A Starbucks spokesperson said the company respects employees' right to picket — "though our focus has been, and continues to be, on uplifting the Starbucks experience for our partners and customers."

She said Starbucks has tried faithfully to negotiate with union employees at more than 50 bargaining sessions across the country, with 60 more scheduled.

"Counter to what the union has shared, it’s been Workers United’s tactics and conduct that has been the biggest impediment to moving the process forward," the spokesperson said in an email. "That’s why we’ve filed more than 40 unfair labor practice charges against the union for failing to bargain in good faith. These charges are now pending review by the National Labor Relations Board."

The union also has filed hundreds of complaints against management. In August, a federal judge required Starbucks to rehire several fired union members who, according to court documents, were terminated in retaliation for unionizing efforts.

Reporter Raymon Troncoso joined WJCT News in June of 2021 after concluding his fellowship with Report For America, where he was embedded with Capitol News Illinois covering Illinois state government with a focus on policy and equity. You can reach him at (904) 358-6319 or Rtroncoso@wjct.org and follow him on Twitter @RayTroncoso.