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Demonstrators gather outside Starbucks headquarters in Seattle to protest ‘Investor Day’ event

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Starbucks’ headquarters in Seattle demanding employees be invited to the company’s ‘Investor Day.’

SEATTLE — Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Starbucks headquarters in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood Tuesday morning demanding employees be invited to the company’s "Investor Day” event.

The Investor Day event is a meeting for executives and investors to talk about ways to expand the company. Starbucks was expected to reveal its "reinvention strategy" during Tuesday’s event in Seattle.

The group of demonstrators included members of Starbucks Workers United, local workers and labor and community allies.

In a statement to KING 5, a Starbucks spokesperson said the Investor Day event was invitation-only due to limited capacity, adding that “numerous hourly partners were invited and are attending Investor Day.”

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Organizers with Starbucks Workers United, the group seeking to unionize U.S. Starbucks stores, said they are also asking the company to "end its ruthless union-busting campaign."

“Claims of union busting are false,” a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement to KING 5 Tuesday morning. “From the beginning, we have been clear that we will respect the process laid out by the [National Labor Relations Board] and bargain in good faith with the stores that vote for union representation.”

Employees at the Starbucks location at Broadway and Denny in Capitol Hill will be on strike while workers protest at the company headquarters in SODO. Workers at the Broadway and Denny location were the first to unionize on the West Coast.

“Starbucks workers are referred to as partners, which is ironic given that the company abjectly refuses to partner with us. They've delayed bargaining," said Billie Adeosun, of Olympia and a barista since 2015. "They've lied to employees. They have proven that they value their performatively liberal brand and their profits more than the workers who bring in that revenue."

A Starbucks spokesperson said the company fully respects “our partners and their right to have their voices heard,” adding that they “believe we can do more for our partners working side-by-side than across a negotiating table.”

Starbucks Workers United said in a press release that Starbucks corporate executives have “participated in unethical practices that directly result in the harm and hardship of low-wage workers,” adding that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued 26 official complaints against Starbucks. The group said the complaints include 97 charges and over 600 violations of labor law.

“We have reiterated to Workers United our commitment to bargain in good faith and are eager to move forward with the process,” a spokesperson for Starbucks said Tuesday. “Under federal law, the ‘mandatory’ subjects of bargaining include wages, hours, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.”

Starbucks Workers United said workers have formed more new unions in a 12-month period than any U.S. company in the last 20 years. At least 326 stores in 37 states have filed to unionize, and 233 stores in 33 states have successfully become union-certified by the NLRB, according to Starbucks Workers United.

In August, Starbucks asked the National Labor Relations Board to temporarily suspend all union elections at its U.S. stores, citing allegations from a board employee that regional NLRB officials improperly coordinated with union organizers.

In a letter to the board chairman, Starbucks said the unnamed career NLRB employee informed the company about the activity, which happened in the board's St. Louis office in the spring while it was overseeing a union election at a Starbucks store in Overland Park, Kansas.

The store is one of the U.S. Starbucks locations where workers have petitioned the NLRB to hold union elections since late last year.

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