Starbucks is closing 16 stores due to employee safety concerns
Starbucks Inc said Monday it will close 16 U.S. stores after workers reported incidents of drug use and other disturbances in its coffee shops.
It said it will permanently close six stores each in the Seattle and Los Angeles areas, two in Portland, Oregon, and individual locations in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. by the end of the month.
The company said it had received reports from workers of incidents they said were related to drug use by some customers and, in some cases, members of the public at certain locations. Starbucks said it will move employees to other locations when stores are permanently closed.
“We read every incident report you provide – it’s a lot,” U.S. Operations Commanders Debbie Stroud and Dennis Nelson wrote in a letter to U.S. personnel on Monday. “We cannot act as partners if we do not first feel safe at work,” they said, referring to the company’s term for employees.
Starbucks also said it will give store managers leeway to close restrooms, limit seating or reduce operations in response to safety concerns. The company said the moves were part of policies aimed at addressing workers’ concerns, including their safety at work.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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