One month after staging a strike on Red Cup Day, unionized Starbucks workers at around 100 stores nationwide began a weekend strike Friday, the largest union campaign to date, according to Starbucks Workers United.

Unionized Starbucks locations in Long Beach and Lakewood have joined seven other stores across Southern California in participating in one- to three-day strikes throughout the weekend. The stores are calling on supporters to stand on the picket line with them and refrain from buying any gift cards from the company this holiday season.

In Lakewood, employees have been striking since 4 a.m. and will be completely shut down through Sunday, according to Tyler Keeling, who has been a prominent union leader at the location on Candlewood Street since early this year and has worked at the company for over six years.

The Starbucks store on the corner of Redondo Avenue and Seventh Street in Long Beach is participating in the strike for one day. That store has been shut down as well.

“We’re asking that allies and supporters who are wanting to, you know, help make a difference, to cut back on the Starbucks gift card spending until Starbucks wants to bargain with us again,” said Josie Serrano, a barista and union leader at the unionized store in Long Beach.

Tyler Keeling, a 26-year-old Starbucks employee at the company’s 4833 Candlewood St. location in Lakewood, stands in the middle of the street during a union strike Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Starbucks Workers United has claimed that the coffee giant has doubled-down on union-busting efforts in stores across the country by closing unionized stores, firing unionized workers and withholding benefits like pay raises and credit card tipping from unionized stores.

In response, the union has dubbed its latest effort the “double down” strike.

“We’re sending (Starbucks) the message that they have been trying to send us,” said Keeling.

In contract bargaining, unionized stores are asking for several improvements to their working conditions, including organizing rights, health and safety protocols and scheduling benefits, among other requests listed on the Starbucks Workers United website.

This weekend’s strike comes four months after Starbucks implemented new employee benefits across all of its stores, except those that have unionized. At the time, a Starbucks spokesperson said, “The law is clear: once a store unionized, no changes to benefits are allowed without good faith collective bargaining.”

Serrano said their store waived bargaining rights over specific terms like pay raises and credit card tipping, but no changes have been made since.

Starbucks did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the nationwide strikes Friday morning.

According to Starbucks Workers United, the National Labor Relations Board has issued 39 official complaints against Starbucks, encompassing over 900 alleged violations of federal labor law.

Starbucks, meanwhile, has filed 22 unfair labor practice charges against Workers United for allegedly failing to bargain in good faith as of Oct. 28.

“Workers United representatives continued to thwart NLRB rules throughout the week,” the company said at the time, “resulting in extensive and wholly unnecessary delays that negatively affect our partners.”

There has been no progress in contract bargaining since then, said Keeling.

Last month, Mayor-Elect Rex Richardson, L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn and members of Councilmember Cindy Allen’s office joined the union’s picket line in solidarity. On Thursday, Keeling said over 100 strike leaders were joined via Zoom by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has been a prominent Starbucks union supporter.

“He told us he was proud of what we’re doing and how we’re changing the face of labor,” said Keeling.

The unionized Starbucks workers in Southern California have created a GoFundMe page to help reimburse workers for lost wages on days their stores are closed and to raise money for strike supplies.

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