The employees joined a nationwide movement consisting of hundreds of stores and thousands of baristas organizing for better working conditions at the global coffee giant.
Neither the San Diego Starbucks headquarters nor the Leucadia Starbucks location answered their phones to respond to the situation.
Workers sent a letter to Starbucks Interim CEO Howard Schultz to announce their organizing campaign. In the letter, workers explained they are organizing as “we are being actively exploited every single day and management is either unable or unwilling to make changes to help us, we are left with no choice but to seek help elsewhere.”
“We are not anti-Starbucks. We are Starbucks. We are the face of this company, and we are the ones who earn for this company. We see daily what is needed for our store to be successful. Joining the union is about getting what we need to do our jobs right when we are not receiving that aid from the company itself,” said Shea Kaplan, a partner of over six years and organizer at the Encinitas location.
According to the Starbucks Workers United release, “Starbucks has launched a ruthless union-busting campaign that includes firing over 200 union leaders across the country and shuttering union stores. At least eleven union leaders in the Golden State have been fired in retaliation for their organizing activity, and more have been forced out of the company.”
The National Labor Relations Board has issued 80 official complaints against the company, encompassing over 1,400 violations of federal labor law.
In early March, Judge Michael A. Rosas, a federal administrative law judge at the National Labor Relations Board, ruled that Starbucks committed “egregious and widespread” violations of federal law in its campaign to halt unions, “ordering the company to give back pay and damages to workers who launched national organizing efforts,” according to The Hill.
Rosas further ordered Starbucks to cease and desist from a number of unlawful actions, including promising employees increased benefits if they did not join a union, engaging in surveillance by photographing employees wearing union pins and prohibiting employees from talking about their wages, per The Hill.
“We believe the decision and the remedies ordered are inappropriate given the record in this matter and are considering all options to obtain further legal review,” a spokesperson for Starbucks said in a statement.
Starbucks Workers United is a union drive that has allegedly formed a number of new unions in the past 12 months. SWU claims there are now 299 Starbucks stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia that have successfully unionized.