The first unionized Starbucks store in Jacksonville went on strike on Monday, delaying the store’s usual opening time.
Mason Boykin, the shift supervisor at Starbucks and union organizer at the Ricky Drive store, said employees showed up at 4:30 a.m., their usual time to open the store by 5 a.m., and immediately began striking.
“We never opened the doors,” Boykin said. “We have a lot of partners abroad, [and] We’ve had a lot of community support, from some other unions and other organizations as well as clients.”
Boykin said workers went on strike to demand a minimum $15 an hour wage increase that began at all non-union stores on Monday. Other stores were told they wouldn’t receive the raise until August 29.
Boykin said this was a matter of unfair labor practice. Workers also had problems with cutting their hours.
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Boykin said management was trying to open the store to a limited capacity with employees from other Starbucks locations and saw that mobile ordering became available again on the company’s app around noon.
“Most of our regulars and clients were confused, and we answered questions for them, and the consensus was generally ‘Yes, fight for your rights,'” Boykin said.
Reportedly a few people who came when the store was still closed were disappointed not to be able to get their drinks, but the striking workers asked those still looking for their Starbucks to visit a nearby store instead – and instruct their baristas well.
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The employees planned the store in Ricky Drive, at 11441 San Jose Blvd. , to strike only on Monday, but Boykin said other business actions may be taken at a later date if they do not receive the response they would like.
“We’ll get back to work [Tuesday] “On terms with the expectation that these demands will be met,” Boykin said.
Jessica Atwood, a Starbucks area manager, did not respond to a request for comment about the strike, store employees or the opening delay.
Starbucks PR emailed a statement about the strike, saying, “We currently have a strike happening in Jacksonville, Florida. Starbucks has wonderful partners and we appreciate their contributions. We respect our partners’ right to engage in any legally protected activity or protest without retaliation. We are grateful to each partner He continues to work and always do our best to listen to the concerns of all our partners.”
Meanwhile, sit-in workers had plenty of sunscreen and water to beat the heat, they said, and supporters even brought them free water and tea.
Community members interested in helping Starbucks employees can visit the Starbucks Workers United website and sign a pledge of solidarity or make a donation to GoFundMe that will supplement wages lost during an employee strike.