Union Starbucks employees proceed on strike over employees and security | Enterprise insurance – business insurance

(Reuters) – Baristas at a Starbucks Corp. location. in Buffalo, New York, went out of work for a second day on Thursday to protest what they believed to be unsafe working conditions amid a new surge in COVID-19 cases.

Workers left their positions at the Elmwood Avenue location – the only unionized Starbucks store in the US – on Wednesday, saying they will not be returning until they feel safe.

A third of the workers there are absent due to COVID-19, said barista Casey Moore, one of the union organizers in Buffalo.

"The place is drastically understaffed, leaving the remaining partners exhausted and overworked," she said.

Employees who can work have not received N95 masks, and "Starbucks has also made it clear that despite nationwide mask requirements, partners are still required to serve unmasked customers," she said.

Company spokesman Reggie Borges said on Monday all 20 stores in the Buffalo area had converted to take-away and closed seating areas and some had cut operating hours to address a local spike in COVID-19 cases and staff shortages.

"During the pandemic, we met and exceeded all CDC and expert guidelines for safety and supported partners with vaccination allowances, sick days and isolation allowances," said Borges.

The store's employees voted on December 9 to join the Workers United union. The National Labor Relations Board certified the election results a week later.

Now Starbucks employees in individual stores in six other cities are looking for elections to vote on whether to unionize.

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