After Lengthy Strike NYC Starbucks Roastery Employees To Return To Work

The first thing you may notice when you step into Starbucks' New York City Reserve Roastery, which opened in December 2018 in Manhattan's meatpacking district, is this is no ordinary Starbucks. You might even forget where you are and imagine you'd walked into a stylish micro-distillery for a flight of craft gin. 

Of course, the aroma of freshly roasted "small-lot, single-origin Reserve coffee and blends" would bring you right back, as described by Starbucks Stories & News. And there you'd be, immersing yourself in the Roastery's interactive design, getting up close and personal with the "craft of coffee" and, perhaps, enjoying a fancy mixologist-curated coffee- or tea-based cocktail at the location's 60-foot bar (via QSR magazine).

What you might not realize is what's been going on behind the scenes of this flagship Roastery. In April 2022, it became the ninth company-owned Starbucks location to unionize under the auspices of the Starbucks Workers United union, according to CNBC. We're talking about the conditions which employees of the Roastery claim they've been working under since their April vote was certified by the National Labor Relations Board, according to the West Village Patch

These conditions, which included dual black mold and bed bug infestations, led employees to walk out on October 25. A lengthy strike ensued, which finally ended after 46 days. And the only reason employees have returned to work is that Starbucks has finally demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the union, per Nation's Restaurant News.

Starbucks is committed to taking effective action

By the time Starbucks employees across the nation embarked on the Red Cup Day Strike on November 17, workers at the NYC Starbucks Reserve Roastery located in Manhattan had already been striking for three weeks over what they characterized as unsafe and unhygienic working conditions, The New York Times and West Village Patch reported at the time. The Red Cup Rebellion protested Starbucks' alleged failure to negotiate with the union, including resorting to potentially illegal anti-union tactics. Starbucks responded to the Red Cup Day strike by expressing its willingness to comply "in good faith," no less. 

In retrospect, it appears that Starbucks may have been speaking sincerely. According to Nation's Restaurant News, the company has been working with Starbucks Workers United to address the health and safety issues identified by the employees. Such work has included definitive and effective action like committing to cleaning ice machines weekly and covering expenses for bed bug inspections, per The City

Further, Starbucks finally settled on a date — December 13 — to begin collective bargaining concerning overall employment issues. "We are excited to return to work, but we recognize that our fight as a unionized store has just begun," some of the employees said in a statement (via The City).