Starbucks will close 6 stores in the Los Angeles area, 16 nationwide as part of employee safety efforts

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Starbucks is closing six stores in the Los Angeles area — among 16 nationwide — out of concern for employee safety.

Safety issues cited at some stores include drug use and a growing mental health crisis. The company recently announced a new initiative to focus on employee safety, including plans to close restrooms, change store layouts and improve security systems.

And in some cases, company officials said, that means permanently closing stores where “safety…is no longer possible.”

The locations of the Los Angeles-area stores that will close are, according to the Wall Street Journal:

  • Santa Monica and Westmount, West Hollywood
  • Hollywood & Western, Los Angeles
  • 1st & Los Angeles (Doubletree), Los Angeles
  • Hollywood and the Vine, Hollywood
  • Seafront Boardwalk and Moss, Santa Monica
  • 2nd & St. Peter, Downtown Los Angeles
  • In addition to the six in Los Angeles, the coffee giant is closing six stores in its hometown of Seattle, two in Portland, Oregon and one in Philadelphia and Washington. Starbucks said employees at those stores will have the option of transferring to other stores.

    Starbucks said Tuesday the closures are part of a broader effort to address staff concerns and ensure stores are safe and welcoming. In a letter to employees, Starbucks senior vice presidents of operations Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson said the company’s stores weren’t immune to issues like rising coffee consumption. drugs and a growing mental health crisis.

    “You also see firsthand the challenges facing our communities – personal safety, racism, lack of access to health care, growing mental health crisis, increasing drug use, etc.,” they wrote. “With stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know these challenges can sometimes occur in our stores as well. We read every incident report you file – that’s a lot.

    “We want you to know that creating a safe, welcoming and caring third place is our top priority. Because, quite simply, we cannot serve as partners if we do not feel safe at work. question that concerns us is: how do we continue to show up for our communities while protecting our partners?

    But the company has also come under fire from some workers who said they were either not consulted or given no option but to close.

    “We don’t think it’s fair that we weren’t allowed to be part of this decision about our working conditions, or that Starbucks is claiming it couldn’t provide a safe experience for our workplace. “said Mari Cosgrove, an employee of one of the Seattle stores that are closing.

    The closures have taken on added significance due to an ongoing unionization effort at Starbucks’ US stores. More than 189 US Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since late last year, according to the National Labor Relations Board. Starbucks opposes the unionization effort.

    Two of the Seattle stores that are closing have voted to unionize, while one of the Portland stores has called for a union vote. Last month, Starbucks also closed a unionized store in Ithaca, New York, due to operational issues, including an overflowing grease pan.

    Starbucks Workers United, the labor group organizing the effort, said it intends to file unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks on behalf of the two unionized stores that are closing in Seattle.

    But Starbucks insisted the closures were unrelated to the organizing drive.

    “Opening and closing stores is part of our business activities,” a company spokesperson said. “It’s really rooted in safe and welcoming stores.”

    US labor law does not prevent Starbucks from closing its stores for business reasons. But he can’t shut down a store – whether unionized or not – in retaliation against union organizers.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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