The first unionized Starbucks store in Jacksonville went on strike Monday, delaying the store’s usual opening time.
Mason Boykin, Starbucks shift supervisor and union organizer at the Ricky Drive store, said employees showed up at 4:30 am, their usual time to open the store by 5 am, and immediately began the strike.
“We never opened the doors,” Boykin said. “We’ve got a lot of partners outside, [and] we’ve had lots of community support, from some other unions and other organizations as well as customers.”
Boykin said the workers were on strike to demand they receive the $15 an hour minimum pay increase which began at all non-unionized stores on Monday. The other stores were told they wouldn’t receive the raise until Aug. 29.
This was an unfair labor practice issue, Boykin said. Workers also were experiencing issues with their hours being cut.
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Boykin said management was trying to open the store at a limited capacity with staff from other Starbucks locations and saw the mobile ordering become available again on the company’s app around noon.
“Most of our regulars and customers have been pretty confused,” Boykin said, “and we’ve answered questions for them, and generally the Consensus has been ‘Yeah, fight for your rights.'”
A few people who came by when the store was still closed were reportedly disappointed about not being able to get their drinks, but the striking workers asked those still seeking their Starbucks fix to visit a nearby store instead — and tip their baristas well.
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Employees at the Ricky Drive store, at 11441 San Jose Blvd., planned to strike for Monday only, but Boykin said other labor action measures may be taken later if they do not receive the response they desire.
“We will be returning to work [Tuesday] conditionally with the expectation that those demands will be met,” Boykin said.
Starbucks District Manager Jessica Atwood did not respond to a request for comment about the strike, store’s staffing or delayed opening.
Starbucks Public Relations emailed a statement about into the strike, saying “We currently have a Strike happening in Jacksonville, Florida. Starbucks has great partners and we value their contributions. We respect our partners’ right to Engage in any legally protected activity or Protest without retaliation. We are Grateful for each partner who continues to work and we always do our best to listen to the concerns of all our partners.”
In the meantime, the picketing employees had plenty of sunscreen and water to beat the heat, they said, and even had supporters bring free waters and teas for them.
Community members interested in helping the Starbucks employees can visit the Starbucks Workers United website and sign the solidarity pledge or Donate to the GoFundMe that will supplement wages lost while employees were striking.