Employees at a Center City Philly Starbucks go on strike

A Starbucks sign

A Starbucks sign is pictured outside a Pennsylvania shop. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Workers of the Starbucks at 12th and Walnut streets in Center City Philadelphia are officially on strike.

The employees allege an unfair work environment, intimidation, refusal to allow union reps to be present, reduced work hours, and retaliation since they voted to form a union.

The strike started at 5:30 a.m. Friday and is expected to end at 5:25 a.m. Saturday.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“It’s worth it because this is our livelihood. This is how we pay the bills and we deserve a living wage.” said store supervisor Kate Pfligler.

Five Starbucks in Philadelphia are now unionized. Four joined Starbucks Workers United in May and the store at 12th and Walnut voted to unionize in June.

“Starbucks prides itself on being a progressive company and yet they’re withholding benefits and wages from hundred and hundreds of employees that they call partners,” Pfligler said. “In any context, this would be considered an abusive relationship and it doesn’t change just because it’s a professional relationship.”

Employees at the store say they’ve had ongoing issues since they unionized.

Nearly 200 stores across the country have voted to unionize since last December when workers at a the location in Buffalo, New York became the first to join.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Pfligler said 14 out of the 18 employees are striking and they’re asking the others not to open the store and withhold their labor.

Action News has reached out to Starbucks’ corporate offices for a response, and information on the status of any negotiations with unionized stores, but have not heard back as of yet.

Get the WHYY app!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal