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First Seattle Starbucks to unionize closing over crime

The Starbucks at Broadway and Denny on Capitol Hill is expected to close Dec. 9.

SEATTLE — The first Starbucks to file for a union election in Seattle will close its doors permanently.

Starbucks said it told workers Monday at the Broadway and Denny location in Capitol Hill that it is shuttering the store due to safety and security incidents that have “continued to escalate” despite mitigation efforts.

The store is expected to close Dec. 9.

Starbucks said it routinely reviews the employee and customer experience at stores, and if safety issues continue to jeopardize the well-being of employees, it will close the location. The company said it will work to relocate employees to other stores if possible.

"Our goal is to ensure that every partner is supported, and we will bargain with the union in good faith to discuss the impact of this decision on our partners—including opportunities to transfer to other area stores," a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement.

However, Starbucks Workers United, the union that represents Starbucks employees, claims the closure is retaliation.

“We had been begging for a social worker and security guard since even before I worked there, but the only response we have ever gotten were vague gestures that ‘we've been heard,’ while the company continues to ignore the problems,” employee Rachel Ybarra said in a statement. “Our safety has never been a concern to Starbucks.”

This isn't the first store Starbucks has closed due to crime. In July, Starbucks announced it planned to close five Seattle-area stores over crime concerns, two of which were unionized. 

The union says Starbucks has closed three other unionized stores in Seattle at Olive Way, Holman Road and First and Pike. Nationwide, the union claims Starbucks has shut down nine unionized stores, alleging retaliation.


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