ANDERSON, S.C. (WCBD) – Workers at a South Carolina Starbucks are speaking out after they allege the company retaliated against them for organizing a union.
Employees at the I-85 Clemson Blvd Starbucks in Anderson County voted unanimously to join a union on May 31, becoming the second Starbucks location in South Carolina to do so.
The 18-0 vote was tallied and confirmed by the National Labor Relations Board.
The group claims Starbucks closed the store on Saturday after workers collectively met with their manager on August 1st to present a so-called “letter of demands.”
The meeting was captured in a viral TikTok video which has amassed more than 8.1 million views.
According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the store manager filed a report after the meeting, alleging the employees “would not let her leave until they got a raise” and “one employee also assaulted her.”
A police report indicates she pressed charges for kidnapping and assault.
The group called the allegations “false and absurd” and said the company has taken retaliatory actions against them including “put [sic] workers on paid time off, suspending them indefinitely, and banned [sic] them from visiting any Starbucks location.”
“The company’s actions in Anderson are another attempt by Starbucks to fire union leaders, retaliate against workers, and intimidate other Starbucks workers from organizing,” an email from Feldman Strategies, a public relations firm representing the Starbucks employees read.
Since last December, more than 200 of Starbucks’ 9,000 U.S. stores have voted to unionize.
Starbucks has not yet returned a request for comment.