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Employees at Florida's first unionized Starbucks go on strike for back wages

 Starbucks' striking employees
Tom Flanigan
Starbucks' striking employees

Employees of Tallahassee's oldest Starbucks spent Labor Day on the picket line.

The workers were objecting the company's delay in giving them a promised pay hike, in addition to other workplace issues. The store is on North Monroe Street near the John Knox Road intersection.

The store's location on North Monroe Street near the John Knox Road intersection is quite historic, barista Addie Curtis said.

"This is the first Florida Starbucks that has been certified in their union. This is also the oldest location in Tallahassee."

And it's the first Starbucks in Florida to go on strike. Since then, several locations across the state have launched efforts unionize, including those in Jacksonville and in Miami.

READ MORE: Union efforts in Hialeah? Starbucks workers the first in South Florida to start process

"We are on strike because the National Labor Relations Board — the NLRB — is going to court against Starbucks for illegally withholding wages from organized stores," she said.

The store voted to unionize back in May.

Workers have not yet been compensated for a pay hike they were supposed to get in June, Curtis said.

"We want our voices to be heard. We tried to talk about it and that's part of the reason we unionized in the first place because our voices were not heard in that way," Curtis said.

Curtis made note of the problems with the store's equipment and physical space that management has refused to address.

"These issues are important to us. We spend hours slaving along in that building and get paid almost nothing for it and the building has a lot of issues and feels a little unsafe at times," she said.

Officials at Starbuck's corporate headquarters in Seattle were unavailable for comment.

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