KC Plaza Starbucks employees to learn more after closing

Kansas City, Mo. – Starbucks employees at the Country Club Plaza location said they had to find out more about their employment situation Thursday after their store closed Monday afternoon.

“They told me I was going to be taken care of,” Barista Josh Crowell said while protesting outside the store Wednesday. “But they say that closing my shop means I’m taken care of, so I don’t believe them.”

Crowell is an organizer of efforts to get Plaza Starbucks workers to be part of a union. On Monday though, he found out the store would be closed. Starbucks said its company is ‘challenged’ in providing a safe environment for its customers. Crowell thinks he will be transferred to the 41st and Main store, but that has not been confirmed.

“No,” Crowell said when asked if he would feel safer if he worked at the 41st Street and Main stores. “If we’re just basing it on safety, I’d say the Plaza is safer than that store, but if we’re being objective about the safety issue as a fast food guy, all food service jobs are unsafe.”

Crowell and his partners thought the store was closing because the workers were trying to form a union. Starbucks did not comment on the matter, but protesters acknowledged that crime has become a problem at the Plaza store.

“I’m watching,” protester Addy Wright said Wednesday. “I’m the one who’s expected to talk to a big drunk guy who’s causing chaos in the cafe. They expect someone like me to be able to handle the situation and escort the guy out and put himself in danger with another small high school barista?”

Wright says the store has been given a little personal security, and it’s working.

“They were able to catch a man who was trying to commit a robbery,” Wright continued. “They could have done one of the men who attacked my manager, so I don’t understand why this summer, the immediate response is to close the store for a lower incident.”

At 7 pm on August 14, officers heard gunshots southwest from the intersection of 47th Street and Wyandotte Street on the Plaza, but there is no word if that was part of the reason Starbucks closed the store.

“When a store location closes, it is our policy to support partners in each individual situation to identify nearby stores with available opportunities that will meet their scheduling and commuting needs,” a Starbucks spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon.

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