Why Starbucks Workers Are Side-Eyeing This Temporary Store Closure

As 2021 rolls forward, more companies have started to unionize. According to BBC, Amazon staff and New York City museum curators made the push to collectivize in recent weeks, and Starbucks isn't too far behind. Employees of the cafe chain cite a lack of training, tough working conditions, and little hope of getting a pay raise as reasons why they want to form unions. And while politics, COVID-19, and a younger generation of workers have all galvanized the effort, the corporation has pushed back against its employees.

Starbucks has allegedly hired the law firm of Littler Mendelsohn to confront the issue, and some employees accuse the company of spying on listening sessions set up by baristas and other cafe employees. Meanwhile, different branches of Starbucks locations have started discussing how to join together, but the movement lacks single leadership, which has caused some organizational issues, per Al Jazeera. This hurdle, plus a recent series of closures brought forth by Starbucks' corporate headquarters, has made some employees a bit concerned.

A shady Starbucks move

According to Al Jazeera, three key Starbucks locations in Buffalo, New York, have led the charge to unionize the business across America. The corporation just temporarily closed two key Buffalo cafes that helped spearhead the movement, per Vice. Starbucks claims the closures don't relate to the collectivization effort — one location shuttered for an alleged remodel, while the corporation plans to use the other as a training facility for Starbucks employees. But organizers claim that the closures serve as an anti-union tactic meant to scatter and divide workers. Meanwhile, the displaced workers have been shifted to new locations.

In addition to the closures, managers have started assembling employees in the Buffalo area to hold anti-union meetings and started a hiring spree to bring in some fresh faces. All of these changes have sent shivers down the spines of the workers that continue to fight for collectivization while demanding better working conditions. Only time can tell what happens next, but the notable closures have the potential to send some ripples through this massive cafe chain.