NYC Starbucks Workers On Strike

The+former+Starbucks+employees%2C+as+seen+by+their+teachers%2C+are+united+in+their+protest.

(VICE/Jules Roscoe)

The former Starbucks employees, as seen by their teachers, are united in their protest.

As of November 1, Starbucks workers in New York City have been on strike for health and sanitary violations. Many people in the city and the country are starting to question whether or not Starbucks and its products are sanitary.

As many know, Starbucks is a major coffee shop chain that started in Seattle, Washington. Since its launch in 1971, it has become one of the most popular and loved coffeehouses. The brand currently estimates to be $104 billion in net worth and has 33,833 stores in 80 countries. Starbucks is home to many fan-favorite drinks, including Strawberry Acai Refresher, the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappucino, and the Iced Chai Tea Latte. Many students enjoy going to Starbucks on late start days since the shop is near the school. Eighth-grader Samantha Haueisan says, “I go to Starbucks about twice a week, and my favorite drink is Strawberry Acai Lemonade.”

In New York City, one of Starbucks’ Reserve™  is located in the Chelsea district. These unique locations appear in cities like Chicago and Seattle and “celebrate coffee and craft, and offer an immersive experience inspired by some of the world’s most iconic cities”, says the Starbucks website. Those who visit these stores can brew their coffee and indulge in limited-edition drinks.

The interior of the New York City Starbucks Reserve ™ Roastery, and apparently nothing is as it seems. (Starbucks)

Recently, former workers from the New York location have been protesting because of alleged unsanitary conditions. They have created signs with photographs depicting moldy ice machines within the Reserve™’s kitchen. Workers from the exact location claimed that bed bugs were also infesting the factory. As people enter the building, protesters urge customers not to continue. Some have even begun to serve food to those who pass by from Dunkin’ Donuts, a rival company of Starbucks.

On this protester’s poster are disturbing images of an allegedly moldy ice maker (New York Post)

 

Though these claims are yet to be confirmed, people have begun to rethink their opinions on Starbucks. The protesters have highlighted Starbucks’s neglect of these issues throughout the strike. The company’s integrity regarding its workers’ conditions and pay has been questioned. These former employees are not the first to speak out about the issue but are the first to unionize officially. 

So how does this affect the students at the Benjamin School? Well, many who learned about the situation in New York City are starting to think twice about their opinions on Starbucks. Seventh grader Keira Compiani says, “I feel like [Starbucks] should have better materials because they’re giving customers mold, and if they keep doing that, customers will get sick; what if it was our Starbucks?” 

Starbucks is currently at a crossroads, and people await a confirmation or response from the company regarding the worker’s strike.