Starbucks workers demand living wage and more

Starbucks employees in Oklahoma City staged a sit-in at a coffee shop in Nichols Hills over the weekend. They say they want to raise awareness about getting better conditions for all Oklahoma chain workers.

Barista Tobi Jimenez said she made $12 an hour and couldn’t afford a car or medical treatment.

“I can barely pay the rent for my parents’ house and my bills, as well as other medical bills. Even with the health care we have now, I can’t afford to go to the doctor,” Jimenez said.

According to Starbucks, its revenue grew to more than $8 billion by the end of 2021. That’s a 19% increase from the previous year. Barista Alisha Humphrey said many employees do not benefit from this money.

“Starbucks definitely has billions in profits and a lot of that money stays on top without going to the people who make that money for Starbucks,” Humphrey said.

Nichols Hills Coffee recently voted to unionize and is awaiting National Labor Relations Board results due early next month. If the vote is in favor of unionization, the employees will negotiate the conditions for this store only.

Hundreds of Starbucks stores across the country have called for unionization votes. So far, no store in Tulsa has made an effort.

Michael A. Bynum