December 7, 2022

Portland Starbucks closes in December after workers vote to unionize

The Starbucks on Middle Street in Portland will close in December, after employees there voted to form a union in October.

Starbucks has elected to close the location by Dec. 23, according to a company spokesperson. The news was made public after Starbucks Workers United Maine, which represents union members at Biddeford and Portland Starbucks, discussed the closure on Twitter on Tuesday.

Employees at the Starbucks location between Middle and Exchange Street voted for unionize by a vote of 10 to 3 October 17. In July, Starbucks workers in Biddeford voted to unionizepartly because of what they thought they were inconsistent hours and low pay.

“After careful consideration, Starbucks has made the decision to close the Middle and Exchange Street store. Our last day at this location will be Friday, December 23, 2022,” a company spokesperson said Tuesday evening. “We regularly review the partner and customer experience across all of our stores, to see if the store is thriving, if partners feel supported and if we are meeting customer needs.”

It was unclear on Tuesday when site employees were notified of the impending closure.

“Our goal is to ensure that each partner is supported in their individual situation, and we have immediate market opportunities available. We will negotiate with the union in good faith to discuss the impact of this decision on partners, including possible transfers to other stores,” the spokesperson said.

During the Biddeford store’s efforts to unionize, a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement that “from the start, we have been clear in our belief that we are better off together as partners, with no union between us. , and that belief has not changed. . We respect our partner’s right to organize.

The shutdown comes after Chipotle was accused of illegally shutting down its Augusta site after its employees voted to unionize in june. The shop closed in Julyclaiming he had been “unable to sufficiently staff this remote restaurant” and that they had made “extraordinary efforts” to recruit new workers to no avail.

A civil servant who heads the Boston office of the top federal labor agency in November claimed that the fast-casual chain had “closed its Augusta store and fired employees there because they supported and aided the union and engaged in concerted activity.”

Cynthia Phinney, president of the American Federation of Labor and the Maine Industrial Organization Congress, on Tuesday called Starbucks’ closure an “illegal union bust” and a “gross violation” of workers’ rights.

“Less than a month after workers at Starbucks in the Old Port voted overwhelmingly to unionize, the company — in an illegal act of union busting — announced it was closing the store. It is the most egregious union busting tactic and it is a flagrant violation of the right of workers to organize without retaliation under the National Labor Relations Act,” Phinney said.

“We urge the National Labor Relations Board to demand that Starbucks reverse its harmful decision and negotiate with its employees.”