Starbucks employees on strike over mattress bugs, mildew on ice

Starbucks workers on strike over bed bugs, mold on ice

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Baristas at a Starbucks Reserve location in Manhattan have been on strike for two days over claims the store has bed bugs and mold.

Unionized workers at the flagship Resreve at Ninth Avenue and 15th Street in the Meatpacking District chanted in front of the store, arguing that the company was not talking about the alleged bed bug infestation in their break room.

“We learned that they knew a little bit beforehand, that they just didn’t tell us about it,” Athena Cosmopolis, an employee at the store, told 1010 WINS about the bug infestation.

A Starbucks spokesman said management was made aware of the bed bug problem on Monday and shortly thereafter arranged for pest control services to inspect and treat the site.

“On the same Monday (10/24), the vendor visited the roastery site and found no infestation or insect activity,” the spokesman added. “The pest control service has given the site the all-clear to reopen on Tuesday (October 25th).”

.@starbucksunion staff at their flagship Chelsea roastery say there is black mold from leaks, mold in an ice machine they had to clean (and got sick from) and the store has bugs that were ignored. They went out spontaneously on Tuesday and came back today. @1010WINS

— Samantha Liebman (@SamiLiebman) October 26, 2022

Starbucks said the health and safety of its employees and customers is its top priority, but workers at the Reserve site also claim mold from the ice machine has been making people sick.

“I know other partners who got very sick and sick at our restaurant and had to go home,” Laura Garza, a 22-year-old Staffer at Stabucks, told 1010 WINS after adding that she was recently the first to have the Ice machine needed cleaning Mold was found on ice.

Starbucks said ice machine cleaning is done at routine intervals at all of its facilities and the machine has been replaced at the reserve location.

Starbucks Reserve flagship location where workers are on strike.

Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“Last week, during routine maintenance and cleaning of the ice machines, management at the Roastery store discovered a wiring problem on one machine and had the unit replaced within 48 hours,” the Starbucks spokesman said. “Ensuring safe operations remains a top priority and we welcome any partners who raise health and safety concerns with store management to ensure a speedy resolution.”

Despite the fixes, workers argue the conditions still stand and plan to continue protesting until the company comes to a resolution.

“The company has to step up and do the right thing,” said Jessica González-Rojas, MP, who came to the strike to show her support.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Samantha Liebman