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May 29, 2024
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Starbucks CEO Approves Closure of 16 Outlets in the US

Starbucks said on Monday that it is closing 16 outlets across the United States following employee complaints of drug use at some locations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Seattle-based coffee chain announced that by the end of the month, it would permanently close the six locations in Seattle, six in Los Angeles, two in Portland, one in Philadelphia, and one in Washington, D.C., citing worker safety as the reason. Employees will also be relocated. 

Starbucks is also implementing a variety of additional safety measures, such as granting store managers the authority to close facilities, restrict sitting, scale back operations, and even alter store layouts in response to safety worries. Additionally, Starbucks will instruct baristas on how to handle a situation involving an active shooter and de-escalation techniques for conflicts. 

Although the corporation claims that the decision to down the stores is in line with regulations intended to allay worker worries about safety at work, some of the closing sites also happen to be those where Starbucks employees had only recently voted to unionize. 

According to the Associated Press, a location in Portland, Oregon, just filed a petition to hold a union ballot, while two of the Seattle locations that will be closed decided to unionize. In addition, Starbucks shut down a location in Ithica, New York, last month as a result of operational issues, only a few weeks after the company voted to unionize. 

Despite actively opposing attempts at unionization, the National Labor Relations Board reports that since late last year, out of Starbucks’ over 9,000 locations nationwide, more than 189 have voted to unionize. 

Read Also:  Starbucks suspends operations in Russia

According to representatives of Starbucks, the latest closures had nothing to do with attempts at unionization, as reported by the Associated Press. 

In collaboration “outreach” sessions, where Starbucks employees from various levels of the company gather to discuss pain issues in their daily job, the subject of employee safety concerns first came up on the radar. 

Outreach initiatives started after chief executive Howard Schultz returned to the company earlier this year and “came as Starbucks is undergoing a company-wide change drive,” according to Starbucks’ official website. On April 4, 2022, Kevin Johnson, who had been CEO since 2017, announced his retirement. Schultz subsequently resumed his duties in that capacity. 

By the end of the summer, Starbucks is scheduled to announce its choice for the permanent CEO job, who will assume the role by the beginning of the next year.

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