The Ithaca location, located near the Cornell University campus, the site had a grease trap problem. This spilt wastewater and oil onto the floor, making it an unsafe and undesirable place for employees to operate in, and for consumers to buy in. In April, the employees voted to be unionised in response to this spill.
Workers United has been unionising Starbuck venues at over 100 cafes, creating near enough a trajectory for a monopsony supply of labour. The union claim that since their first landmark in December 2021, Starbucks has been retaliating against employees.
The Ithaca location spoke out saying that this is not the case. The choice to shut it down was because of the grease trap, and operational issues such as staffing, time and attendances. In other words, the venue requires a large reinvestment to deal with maintenance, and with inefficiencies being prevalent amongst workers, it seems it is no longer viable to further operate.
However, Worker United do not buy this. They believe it to be crude retaliation and have filed a federal lawsuit to punish Starbucks – describing the closure as a “blatant act of war”. Meanwhile, Starbucks sticks to its rationale and wishes to negotiate with the ever so growing bargaining power of Worker united.
Under Biden, the power of unions can be transformational to the current structure of the economy. And as history would have us predict, usually for the worse, unless there are legitimate health concerns