UPDATE: Two Tallahassee coffee shops go on Labor Day strikes, one is now closing

Two Tallahassee coffee shops go on Labor Day strikes
Two Tallahassee coffee shops go on Labor Day strikes(WCTV)
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 7:21 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 5:24 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The local coffee shop that saw workers strike on Monday is now closing, as first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Serenity Coffee and Kava Bar Group announced that it will be closing, according to a Facebook post.

“Since the start of the pandemic, Serenity has struggled to combat reduced revenue and rapidly rising costs. We were not alone in that struggle, and the staff, patrons, and community took up the challenge with us. However, with a heavy heart, our small chapter in Tallahassee’s story now comes to a close,” the statement said, signed by Serenity Culture Company.

They said even the best efforts were not enough to overcome the struggles Serenity has faced.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Workers at two Tallahassee coffee shops are saying they’ve had enough -- protesting what they say are unfair working conditions.

“It’s not just about the coffee,” Starbucks employee Caesar Scalia said. “It’s also about the people behind the counter.”

Serenity Coffee and Kava Bar in Railroad Square and the Starbucks on North Monroe were both on strike on Labor Day.

“We just said ‘You know what, we’re not gonna come in,’” Serenity Coffee employee Tyler James Vivas said. “We can’t take the mistreatment anymore.”

Workers at Serenity Coffee say they’re overworked and underpaid.

They’re demanding that their manager hire more staff.

“We really don’t want to open until our demands are met,” Vivas said.

Three miles north, dozens of Starbucks customers were shocked to find out their favorite spot was shut down for the day.

“I was really surprised to see this,” one customer, Anita Hatcher, said.

Workers at the John Knox location say Starbucks withheld raises from employees for a month to punish them for forming a union.

They’re demanding the company give them retroactive pay to make up for it.

“We put love into your coffee,” employee Leo Hernandez said. “And we also put effort and time and we love our jobs. That’s why we’re doing this.”

They say it’s not just about the money but it’s also about the message -- that workers can and should stand up for themselves.

“We’re getting people talking about these issues nationwide, not just here, everywhere,” Scalia said. “This is a huge moment in the labor movement.”

WCTV reached out to Starbucks today.

A spokesperson sent a statement in response, saying:

“Starbucks respects our partners (employees). Partners have a right to lawfully participate in protests or events that are personally important to them. Partners do not represent Starbucks while engaging in protest activity. We remain committed to our partners and will continue to work together, side-by-side, to make Starbucks a company that works for everyone.”

Starbucks workers say they’ll be back serving customers after Monday’s strike, but workers at Serenity Coffee said they don’t know yet if they’ll be clocking into work Tuesday.

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