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'It's messed up': Portland Starbucks employees accuse company of union busting

The Starbucks in Portland's Old Port is closing less than a month after employees voted to form a union.

PORTLAND, Maine — Less than a month ago, employees at Portland's Old Port Starbucks at the corner of Exchange and Middle streets voted overwhelmingly to form a union. Now the location is closing its doors for good on Friday, Dec. 23. 

Employees at the store told NEWS CENTER Maine they learned of the news during a store meeting on Tuesday.

“They tried saying our store was the slowest of the three locations that are downtown, but I don’t think that’s true,” Starbucks Barista Mandie Cantrell said.

Cantrell explained how the story recently hired two employees a few weeks ago because of how busy their store has been. 

"It's definitely some union busting," Cantrell added. "It's messed up." 

A Starbucks spokesperson denied NEWS CENTER Maine's request for an interview but provided us with a statement. 

"We routinely review the partner and customer experience in all our stores, to see if the store is thriving, partners are feeling supported, and that we are meeting customer needs," Starbucks said in an email. "We will bargain with the union in good faith to discuss the impact of this decision on the partners including the opportunities for transfers to other stores. We look forward to continuing to serve the community and welcome guests to visit our nearby locations."

Cody Dow is another Starbucks employee accusing the company of breaking the law. 

“[Managment] said us closing isn't union-related, but that was the only solid statment they would make, which kind of makes it sound like it was union-related,” Dow said.

Dow went on to say he's waiting on labor unions to take action against Starbucks before he and his coworkers take any action themselves. 

The announcement comes a few weeks after the National Labor Relations Board Boston regional office issued a complaint against Chipotle Mexican Grill. The complaint alleged that Chipotle violated the National Labor Relations Act by closing its Augusta store earlier this summer, as workers were in the midst of forming a union.

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