Ithaca, NY

Starbucks shuts down New York location "to scare workers" according to union activists

Kristen Walters

Starbucks workers at a recently closed location in New York are claiming the store shut down "to scare other workers" who may be thinking of forming a union. However, Starbucks says otherwise.

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Last week, Starbucks workers at the College Avenue store location in Ithaca, New York, were informed that the store would be closing.

Since then, rumors have been swirling regarding the "real" reason for the closure.

The company cited issues with a faulty grease trap that caused unsafe working conditions. According to reports, an overflowing grease trap had been an ongoing problem at the store for some time.

Allegedly, there was constantly oil on the shop floor as well as a strong foul odor that customer's noticed due to rancid grease. Starbucks employees even went on strike back in April because of the "unsafe working conditions" caused by the grease trap issue.

However, something else also happened in April that is causing former employees to believe that the Starbucks on College Avenue was not closed for safety reasons. That is the same month all three Starbucks locations in Ithaca voted to unionize.

Many employees believe that the "real" reason the College Avenue Starbucks location was closed was to "scare employees" at other locations who may be thinking about forming a union. Therefore, this closure is being viewed as a retaliatory act by the employees who worked at the site.

According to reports, Starbucks Workers United, the worker committee for Starbucks employees, is filing an Unfair Labor Practice claim with the National Labor Relations Board.

If the store did indeed close because the workers voted to unionize, that would be a violation of federal labor law. However, if Starbucks closed due to a legitimate business or safety issue, that would be legal and warranted.

What do you think?

Do you think Starbucks is trying to "scare" workers who want to form a union?

Or do you think the store closed for a legitimate safety issue?

Let us know in the comments.

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