EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – What would have been one of the busiest days for Starbucks turned out to be a day of protest for many locations, including a few in and around Lansing. That’s because hundreds of workers walked off the job, they say it’s part of an effort to unionize the coffee company.
Starbucks workers at more than 100 stores across the US are on strike Thursday in their largest labor action since a campaign to unionize the company’s stores began last year.
It’s a nationwide demand for what many Starbucks workers say the company lacks, consideration and care for its employees.
“We’re really hoping that with this, corporate will give us a better shot with looking at our contract with the non-discrimination, and better staffing and with better clauses that should already be spelled out for workers,” Starbucks barista Cora Fontana said.
These walkouts come on red cup day, of the companies’ busiest days of the year.
Cora Fontana has worked as a barista for more than a year, she said on days like these they are usually understaffed which makes her and her colleagues feel:
“More as machines than we are human beings,” she said.
Fontana said she believes company leaders often put production over the success of their employees.
“Just trying to make sure that our drive times are down so that we can continue to get labor hours but then continue to still not be fully staffed, so we’re almost set up for failure.”
In a statement, the company said that they remain committed to making a company that works for everyone.
Workers at this location received a lot of support from those driving by and members of the Greater Lansing Democratic Socialists of America who stood alongside them.
“We’re here for strike support, to be able to support our comrades out here who are striking for better benefits and better pay,” Greater Lansing Democratic Socialists of America Secretary Ian Hyslop said.
Starbucks and the union have begun contract talks at 53 stores with 13 additional sessions scheduled. Right now, no agreements have been made. The protesters in East Lansing say they’re just trying to get the corporation’s attention to make positive change.