Employees at Mandarin Starbucks organize strike to demand higher wages, better hours

The store voted to unionize in May

Employees at a unionized Starbucks in Mandarin are tired of what they call unfair treatment of unionized restaurants after the chain introduced new benefits to nonunionized stores. The Starbucks on Ricky Road off San Jose Boulevard was closed Monday during normal business hours because employees were officially striking.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Employees at a unionized Starbucks in Mandarin are tired of what they call unfair treatment of unionized restaurants after the chain introduced new benefits to nonunionized stores.

The Starbucks on Ricky Road off San Jose Boulevard was closed Monday during normal business hours because employees were officially striking.

They said the store hours have changed and employee hours were slashed without their consent. They are also concerned about $15 pay raises that went into effect Monday for nonunionized Starbucks stores, which didn’t take effect at the Mandarin store.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson previously said federal law prohibits them from promising new wages and benefits at stores involved in union organizing.

This store is one of the two Starbucks in the area that voted to unionize earlier this year -- the other one in San Marco was open on Monday.

An organizer at the strike said Starbucks management was still making decisions without the employees participating in the strike, but the strikers continue to get management’s attention.

There were signs that read “Starbucks mad sus... pay us fairly” and “hands off my wages.”

Customers who visited the establishment said they were surprised to see what was happening.

“I was shocked. I mean, you don’t expect Starbucks to be on strike,” Hoori Aswani said.

Mason Boykin helped unionize workers at the Mandarin store.

“We want to feel seen, heard and respected,” Boykins said. “As a unionized shop, Starbucks is not allowed to make unilateral changes without consenting or bargaining with partners and they’ve gone ahead and broken that rule anyways.”

Boykins said not much has changed at this location since employees voted to unionize. That is until the company changed store hours and workers’ schedules without consulting them.

“I’m hoping there will be some response to our demands. Our partners will be returning to work unconditionally with the idea that demands will be met,” Boykins said.

The protestors said if their demands aren’t met that they reserve the right to take action.

A Starbucks spokesperson told News4JAX they cannot make guarantees about benefits to union members without going through negotiations first.

“What we can say for sure is that Starbucks will always bargain in good faith,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also said that Starbucks is grateful for their partners — that’s what they call their employees — and they always do their best to listen to the concerns of all their partners. The spokesperson did not address the concerns about changes to hours and schedules.

The drive-thru reopened around noon Monday but the inside remained closed.

The employees picketing said they plan on returning Tuesday.

This isn’t the only Starbucks participating in a strike over employee benefits. The Boston division of Starbucks Workers United also announced what it called a “Day of Action” on Monday.


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I-TEAM and general assignment reporter