Starbucks has closed a store at Ithaca in New York after union workers voted to unionize.
According to the union, the coffee giant gave notice to the College Ave. employees near Cornell University of a one week notice about the closure. The store was set for permanent closure on June 10.
Ithaca's Starbucks was one of three that voted to unify on April 8.
The College Ave. workers went on strike in April over unsafe working conditions. According to the union, Starbucks later blamed the grease trap for closing the location.
"This is clearly retaliation against our small grasps of dignity as workers. But our strike showed them how powerful we are," Benjamin South, an employee at College Ave., stated in a statement.
Starbucks is also accused of violating its legal obligations to bargain about store closings. The union claims that the company shut down the store in an effort to discourage workers from joining the union.
NPR reached out to Starbucks for comment but they did not respond immediately.
Bloomberg was told by a Starbucks spokesperson that the closing was not related to unionization but was instead based upon facilities, staffing, time and attendance issues.
Reggie Borges, spokesperson for Starbucks, stated that the company regularly opens and closes stores. We work hard to provide the type of environment customers and partners expect from Starbucks. We want to support every partner in their individual circumstances and have immediate opportunities in the market.
Starbucks stores all over the country have witnessed a surge in union organizing over the past few months. More than 230 Starbucks stores filed petitions for union elections, and 50 stores voted to join Workers United between December 2012 and May 2013.