Starbucks sites in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area will soon be introducing needle lockers in the bathrooms of stores after thousands of employees sign a petition demand that the coffee company do more to "protect the employees".
"Exposure to HIV / AIDS, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, etc. is a risk in Seattle, where there is a heroin / hepatitis C crisis. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C and Starbucks refuses to comment when employees mention this risk ", Says the petition – published by" Citizen Z ". "Employees may get stung and MUST get stung, even after following the" protocol "of using gloves and pliers to get rid of worn out needles in bathrooms, buffer bins and posts of diaper change. "
The petition makes it possible to briefly understand the dangerous working conditions. First, employees fear being in contact with hypodermic needles regularly thrown in the trash in the bathroom by opioids and homeless. The petition shows that some employees must receive medical care and pay "nearly two thousand dollars" for their hospital bills after exposure. He added that employees must "pay these fees themselves before being reimbursed until Starbucks insurances come into effect", adding that "many baristas do not have the means to pay medical expenses and must resort to "credit and credit cards". "
It is said afterwards that there is a significant risk for pregnant employees, or those who suffer from immune disorders, are afraid to go to work because of the needles that are usually found in theaters Starbucks baths in the Seattle area. "Making coffee should not come with this kind of risk easily diverted," the petition ends.
On Thursday afternoon, the petition had more than 3,700 signatures out of the required 4,000.
Business Insider has been meeting with Starbucks representative, Reggie Borges, who said the employees were receiving a protocol to remove the needles, but that the new disposal boxes would offer more security.
"These social problems concern us all and can sometimes place our [employees] in scary situations, "said Borges. "I can not stress enough that if our partners are in a position where they do not feel comfortable performing a task, they have the power to get out of the situation … as we always do We are constantly evaluating our processes and listening to partners to know how we can be better. "
Starbucks will install FDA approved Containers for disposal of sharp objects in bathrooms around the city. The containers for sharp objects are made from rigid plastic and allow those concerned to safely dispose of needles, syringes and other sharp medical instruments that might otherwise pierce a trash bag.
In May 2018, Starbucks ad a new "global" public toilet policy, which opened the company's bathrooms to opioid addicts and the homeless, as employees battled blood splatter, drug needles and flakes in the hands of vagabonds filling the shop.
Starbucks said, "We want our stores to be the third place, a warm and inviting environment where customers can gather and connect, and all guests are welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our washrooms, coffee shops and restaurants. patios, whether they buy or not. "
Since then, the company has passed on the toilet policy to everyone, perhaps after realizing that their employees and customers are not responding well to the possibility that vagrants are using the stores as a shelter for the homeless.