Macomb County Starbucks workers go on strike, say company won’t cooperate with union

As a result of the strike, the Partridge Creek Mall store closed early

click to enlarge Macomb County Starbucks workers on strike outside of the Partridge Creek Mall location. - Lee DeVito
Lee DeVito
Macomb County Starbucks workers on strike outside of the Partridge Creek Mall location.

Workers at a Starbucks location in Macomb County went on strike on Tuesday after they say the company did not negotiate with their union in good faith, resulting in the store closing several hours early.

Employees at the Starbucks at 17140 Hall Rd. at the Partridge Creek Mall in Clinton Township voted 8-3 in June to form a union, joining a growing number of workers at the coffee chain across the country to do so in recent months. But they say they have grown frustrated with the company in recent weeks, resulting in them resorting to decide to withhold their labor.

They say the last straw came about two weeks ago, when the store's manager pulled its assistant manager off the floor during peak hours to work on cutting employee hours. The striking workers say that the workers who voted to form a union have had their hours cut, while the workers who voted against the union have been given preferential treatment.

"It's a thing that we kind of had in the back of our minds that we might have to do it to get the company to actually listen to us and say, 'We're here to ready to bargain in good faith and like actually exercise and recognize your collective bargaining rights,'" says Dylan Skinner, a barista at the store for nearly two years. "So far, they haven't done that. They've actually barely even recognized us as a unionized store."

As a result of the strike, the store had closed down for the day by 5:30 p.m., hours ahead of its posted 9 p.m. closing time.

A sign posted in the location's window said the store was temporarily closed, making no mention of the strike. "We are working to re-open our store as quickly as possible," it said.

click to enlarge As a result of the strike, the Partridge Creek Mall Starbucks closed early. - Lee DeVito
Lee DeVito
As a result of the strike, the Partridge Creek Mall Starbucks closed early.

Metro Times contacted the Starbucks corporate office via email and asked for a comment.

"We currently have a strike happening at the Mall at Partridge Creek store location today," a company spokesperson said in a statement. "Starbucks has great partners and we value their contributions. We respect our partners’ legal right to engage in activity or protest without retaliation. We are grateful for each partner who offered to work today and are doing our best to listen to the concerns of all our partners."

Skinner says they demand more hours for union workers, an end to the preferential treatment for anti-union workers, and the ability to share union information with new employees.

"We haven't been able to do that, because they've been suppressing information and papers and pamphlets and such," Skinner says. "So we want to strike for all of that."

Skinner says they plan to return to work on Wednesday.

"The idea was to kind of remind them that, hey, we are a unionized store, and we are not going to back down from being a unionized store," he says. "And you need to recognize our rights that we have."

He adds, "I will say, it's not a thing that we necessarily wanted to do. Like, we didn't want to get to this point, but it's the thing that we felt like we had to do."

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland “Lee” DeVito is the editor in chief of Detroit Metro Times since 2016. His writing has also been published in CREEM, VICE, In These Times, and New City. He once asked porn star Stormy Daniels to spank him with an issue of Metro Times. She obliged.

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