Starbucks Closing 16 Stores in 4 Blue States and D.C. for Worker Safety

An employee pours syrup over whipped cream while preparing a coffee drink at a Starbucks C
Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Starbucks Corporation announced Monday that it is closing 16 stores in the U.S. because of safety concerns for workers, including incidents of violence and drug use on the premises.

The coffee retailer will close permanently six stores in Seattle, Washington, and six more in the Los Angeles, California, region. Two stores will shutter in Portland, Oregon, and one store each in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

All four states and the District are run by Democrats — Jay Inslee in Washington, Gavin Newsom in California, Kate Brown in Oregon, Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania, and Muriel Bowser in D.C.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the development:

Starbucks also said that it would give store managers leeway to close restrooms, limit seating or reduce operations in response to safety concerns. The moves are part of policies aimed at addressing workers’ concerns, including about their safety on the job, the company said.

Starbucks said workers reported safety concerns during outreach sessions after interim chief executive Howard Schultz returned to the company earlier this year.

“We read every incident report you file—it’s a lot,” wrote U.S. operations leads Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson in a message to U.S. employees on Monday. “We cannot serve as partners if we don’t first feel safe at work.”

In 2019, Starbucks announced that they would be installing needle-disposal containers in their public restrooms across the country after an employee petition and an OSHA investigation in Oregon, according to Breitbart News.

“Like so much of the world right now, the Starbucks business as it is built today is not set up to fully satisfy the evolving behaviors, needs and expectations of our partners or customers,” CEO Harold Schultz wrote in a letter to employees on Monday, the Journal reported.

Starbucks announced it would transfer employees to other locations when it permanently closes the stores so staff would not face unemployment.

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