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Home » Tompkins County » Ithaca » Employees strike as final days of operation loom for closing Starbucks locations in Ithaca

Employees strike as final days of operation loom for closing Starbucks locations in Ithaca

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

A year after becoming fully unionized, all corporate-run Starbucks stores in Ithaca are scheduled for closure by May 26, as announced by the company.


The news, communicated to employees through personal interactions and phone calls on May 5, has prompted a protest led by baristas who believe the move is retaliatory against the union.

Employees cite differential treatment, including better pay and relaxed dress code, in non-union stores, sparking discussions about corporate strategy to allegedly penalize unionized locations.

Starbucks justified the closures, attributing them to operational disruptions caused by over 900 partner absences and a high turnover rate, three times their national average, over the last eight months.


The company further highlighted the inability to retain critical management positions as a significant factor. However, striking employees argue that this explanation is misleading, citing that the company has been reducing work hours and failing to accommodate personal schedules.

Allegations have also surfaced about differential enforcement of workplace rules and disciplinary actions based on employees’ support for the union. Negotiations regarding the ability to transfer and severance packages for those who don’t are currently underway between Starbucks and the union.