WESTLAKE, Ohio — The holiday season is in full swing and many shoppers stop into their local Starbucks to grab a coffee or snack.
But some Starbucks may be closed this weekend because of a strike. There are 100 locations and more than 1,000 employees protesting the company throughout the U.S., including the Crocker Park Starbucks location in Westlake, Ohio.
Devon Smith, one of the baristas at the Crocker Park location, explained why they are taking part.
“We’re really severely understaffed and very overwhelmed,” she said.
Fellow barista Brian Alvarado said the timing of the strike was planned.
“It’s really important that we find the correct days to make the most noise,” he said, adding he and Smith both risked their jobs by speaking out.
“We’re so used to being like the corporate punching bag. We’re at the bottom of the line. Everyone likes to think of us, even though we’re ‘essential’ to them. They’re treating us like human filth a lot of the time,” he said.
For Alvarado, quitting is not an option. He said he wants to be able to help out his fellow employees.
“I want to be there and be that fight for them because not everyone has the strength to wake up and go fight,” he said.
This strike is scheduled through Sunday and will be the longest in the unionization campaign that began last year. Spectrum News reached out to Starbucks for a comment, but did not receive a response.
This is the second major strike in a month by Starbucks’ U.S. workers. On Nov. 17, workers at 110 Starbucks stores held a one-day walkout. That effort coincided with Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day, when the company gives reusable cups to customers who order a holiday drink.
More than 264 of Starbucks’ 9,000 company-run U.S. stores have voted to unionize since late last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.