First NJ Starbucks to unionize goes on strike for benefits, better pay
PENNINGTON — Workers at the Hopewell Starbucks are on strike this weekend after voting to become the first unionized location in New Jersey.
The picket line went up at the store on Route 31 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 strike's goal was to get better pay, benefits, and working conditions. She added it was a "last-minute decision."
"We want a seat at the bargaining table so we can get a contract," Kenney said. "We can only do so much without one."
Governor Phil Murphy supported the striking Starbucks workers on Twitter and said it should be a "wake-up call."
"They don't deserve unfair pay and slashed hours," Murphy said. "They deserve the ability to earn enough to take care of themselves and their loved ones."
Workers at the Hopewell Starbucks voted to unionize in late April. Three months later, they haven't received a date from the National Labor Relations Board.
Kenney told NJ Spotlight News that Starbucks is stalling.
"Now that we have our election and we won it, it seems like the next step is to delay our bargaining," 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 protest without retaliation. We are grateful for each partner who continues to work and we always do our best to listen to the concerns of all our partners."
Two other Starbucks in Hamilton and Summit also voted to form a union following in the footsteps of Hopewell.
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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