Starbucks workers picket at three locations in Twin Cities

Workers stand outside a Starbucks and hold signs.
Starbucks worker Graciela Nira uses a megaphone during an unfair labor practice strike in St. Paul on Wednesday. Nira and employees at two other Twin Cities Starbucks locations were part of a nationwide strike at over 100 stores, calling for better working conditions and the right to organize.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Updated: 11:50 a.m.

Starbucks coffee shop workers picketed Wednesday at more than 100 stores nationwide, including three in the Twin Cites.

Organizers with Starbucks Workers United said the strike was to demand “basic rights like livable wages with consistent scheduling, safe and respectful workplaces, and the right to organize free from fear and intimidation.” They said the action came a day before the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

A sign taped on a door reads "on strike"
Starbucks workers posted these signs on the door to the store at 300 Snelling Ave. South in St. Paul.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Twin Cities picket sites Wednesday included the Starbucks at 300 Snelling Ave. S in St. Paul; near 37th and Silver Lake Road in St. Anthony; and near 47th and Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis. Workers at all three voted last year to unionize.

Picketing was set to last from 7 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, with an additional noon-hour rally at the Minneapolis store.

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Elizabeth Lorraine Mitchell is a barista at the Minneapolis store. She said their main issue is consistent scheduling, although they're also pushing for higher wages and the right to organize unions without intimidation from the company.

"Since we have so many people who are just really trying to pay their bills on this job, and we have students who are trying to do that and go to school, we are just really trying to push them to respond to that in addition to some of the other issues,” she said.

Starbucks workers at the Snelling Avenue and St. Anthony locations took part in a three-day strike in December.

In a statement Wednesday, Starbucks said that “rather than publicizing rallies and protests, we encourage Workers United to live up to their obligations by responding to our proposed sessions and meeting us in-person to move the good faith bargaining process forward.”

Regarding unionization efforts at some of its stores, the company said it has followed the process outlined by the National Labor Relations Board, and denied allegations that it has violated labor laws.