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Independence, Missouri, Starbucks 'shut down' Sunday due to strike

Independence Missouri Starbucks Strike
Independence Starbucks Strike
Posted at 10:25 AM, Oct 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 06:39:49-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Starbucks located at East 39th Street and Arrowhead Avenue in Independence, Missouri, was "shut down" Sunday due to an unfair labor practices strike, according to Workers United/SEIU organizer Mari Orrego.

CJ Miller, a former Starbucks employee, says he was fired after an investigation by Starbucks.

Miller says he was investigated for solicitation after posting flyers in the Starbucks lobby in what he says he believes are protected areas by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

NLRB rights allow employees to post solicitations during non-work hours in non-work areas, like break rooms. Miller claims that because the Starbucks did not have a break room, he believed the lobby was a protected area because it is where employees take their breaks.

Miller also says he was investigated for defacement for writing messages like "protect Starbucks laborers" on a chalkboard.

He says he was later pulled off the floor and told he had been fired for not clocking out on a meal break, which he claims was false.

"I do believe this is a targeted attack on me," Miller said. "This is Starbucks targeting union leadership in Kansas City."

A Starbucks spokesperson tells KSHB 41 News that in addition to failing to record a meal break properly, Miller received three warnings for attendance violations. The spokesperson also says that Miller did not account for clocking out early and participated in non-work conduct six minutes after clocking into work.

Miller also had a discovery conversation where he had the opportunity to explain himself, per the Starbucks spokesperson.

Sunday's strike featured full participation of the store, with around 20 employees in attendance, according to Miller. The goal was to meet in bargaining, stop unjust firings and investigations and fully respect the Weingarten Rights of the employees.

Miller says he hopes to be reinstated.

"We want to let management know that we're not OK with this," he said.

The employees picketed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the location at 18710 E. 39th St.

"We respect our partners’ right to engage in lawful protest activity and appreciate their unconditional commitment to return for opening shifts tomorrow. We remain committed to our partners and will continue to work together, side-by-side, to make Starbucks a company that works for everyone," a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement.

The Starbucks location opened on Monday.