First NJ Starbucks to unionize goes on strike for benefits and pay

PENNINGTON — Workers at the Hopewell Starbucks are on strike this weekend after voting to become New Jersey’s first unionized location.

The picket line was set up at the Route 31 store on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again for the same time on Sunday.

Hailey Kenney, a barista at the store, said on social media that the purpose of the strike was to obtain better wages, benefits and working conditions. She added that it was a “last minute decision”.

A message on the blackboard at Hopewell Starbucks. (Patrick Lavery)

A message on the board at the Hopewell Starbucks. (Patrick Lavery)

“We want a seat at the bargaining table so we can get a contract,” Kenney said. “We can’t do much without one.”

Governor Phil Murphy supported striking Starbucks workers on Twitter and said it should be a “wake up call”.

“They don’t deserve unfair pay and reduced hours,” Murphy said. “They deserve to be able to earn enough to take care of themselves and their loved ones.”

Workers at Hopewell Starbucks voted to unionize in late April. Three months later, they have not received an appointment from the National Labor Relations Board.

Kenney told NJ Spotlight News that Starbucks is stalling.

“Now that we have our election and won it, it looks like the next step is to delay our negotiations,” Kenney said.

Through a spokesperson, Starbucks told New Jersey 101.5 that it would not interfere with the strike.

“Starbucks has great partners and we value their contributions. We respect our partners’ right to engage in any legally protected activity or event without retaliation. We are grateful to each partner who continues to work, and we always do our best to best to listen to the concerns of all our partners.”

Two other Starbucks in Hamilton and Summit also voted to form a union in Hopewell’s footsteps.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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