Starbucks FLEES liberal hotzones: Here's why company will close 16 outlets from NYC to Portland
Starbucks' store managers have complained to company executives about an increase in assaults, thefts, and drug use in and around each location
Starbucks is closing 16 stores across the country after store managers reported an increase in drug use among customers and outsiders, as well as an increase in crime in some areas. The company announced its closure in an internal email sent to employees at the company Monday, July 11. The planned closure of the Starbucks stores will include six stores each in the Seattle and Los Angeles areas, two in Portland, Oregon, and single locations in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
The company announced that it will permanently close all 16 stores by the end of the month. The company's executives said in the email that they had received complaints from the store managers of the coffee chain stating that they have not felt safe. The reported disruptions include drug use by paying customers and, more often than not, homeless people - who often take advantage of the company's open bathroom policy, which allows nonpaying patrons to use their facilities, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Seattle-based company attracted huge coverage from the Republicans as Starbucks closed six of its stores in Seattle which is a Democrat-run city.
Starbucks is closing several stores in the Democrat-run city of Seattle over “safety concerns” consisting of:— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 12, 2022
“Crime, assaults, thefts, [and] drug use.” pic.twitter.com/gEVmBYUzQA
“We read every incident report you file—it’s a lot,” wrote US operations leads Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson in a message to US employees on Monday, July 11. “We cannot serve as partners if we don’t first feel safe at work,” they said, referring to the company’s term for employees.
Starbucks also stated that in response to safety concerns, store managers would be given the authority to close restrooms, limit seating, or reduce operations. The changes are part of policies aimed at addressing workers' concerns, including their safety on the job, according to the company. Managers can continue to change store layouts as needed, including limiting customer seating, according to the spokeswoman. The company stated that it would provide additional training to baristas on how to deal with active shooter scenarios and workplace conflict de-escalation.
Earlier this year, Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz stated that the company was reconsidering its "open bathroom" policy due to growing public safety concerns. “There is an issue of, just, safety in our stores, in terms of people coming in who use our stores as a public bathroom,” Schultz said during a New York Times DealBook event. “We have to provide a safe environment for our people and our customers. The mental health crisis in the country is severe, acute, and getting worse.”
Is Starbucks' closure a ploy to stop worker unions?
The Starbucks Workers United union, formed in late 2021, has been pushing the company for better benefits, more training, and a bigger voice in company affairs. In the past one year, around 240 of Starbucks’s 9,000 US corporate stores petitioned to unionize. On Tuesday, July 12, the Seattle-based coffee giant's CEO agreed to expand pay and other benefits for employees after the battle between the company and newly unionized employees escalated. This comes after a leaked video (now deleted) from April this year by pro-labor newssite More Perfect Union where they said Schultz implored the company’s local and regional managers to more actively intervene in the organizing process and repeatedly denigrated the baristas behind Starbucks Workers United. The billionaire CEO blasted workers as “some outside force” and alleged that they are “trying desperately to disrupt our company.”
Schultz reportedly declared that “it’s an American right of workers not to unionize and to [instead] embrace the values and the culture of his or her company.” He also urged managers to communicate anti-union talking points to workers in their stores — to “encourage them to understand what it would really mean to vote for a union” — and said it was “critically important” that everyone voted. The Guardian reports 'Schultz has a long history of opposing unions. In recent months, as the nationwide unionization campaign has gained momentum, Starbucks has deluged employees with anti-union messaging, fired pro-union workers and spent millions of dollars on a law firm famous for union-busting.'
When news of the closure hit social media, there were a lot of questions regarding the anti-union attitude, with some claiming this move was to stop unionizing. One claimed "A Starbucks spokesperson confirmed the company will permanently close two Portland stores in July, citing safety concerns. One of them, at 401 SW Morrison St., has a union campaign underway with ballots scheduled to be counted Aug. 5."
In case you were wondering what Starbucks employees at 505 Union Station think of the safety concerns from their (possibly ex-)employer. pic.twitter.com/WVLIdUPiQl— Wes Mills 😷🍥 (@oowm) July 13, 2022
BREAKING: Starbucks workers in Bellingham, Washington, vote to unionize 10-3 -- forming the 15th union in the state and the second in Bellingham.— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) July 6, 2022
A Starbucks spokesperson confirmed the company will permanently close two Portland stores in July, citing safety concerns. One of them, at 401 SW Morrison St., has a union campaign underway with ballots scheduled to be counted Aug. 5.— Colin Staub (@colininportland) July 12, 2022
Schultz said Tuesday, July 12 that it would invest roughly $200 million in stores and employees, including higher hourly pay, fixing cafe equipment, increased training, perks for highly skilled baristas, and an app for better workplace communication, Wall Street Journal reported. Meanwhile Starbucks Workers United said that its campaign pressured Schultz and the company to improve pay and benefits for employees.
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