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To: Starbucks

Protect Employees And Customers By Placing Needle Disposal Boxes In High-Risk Bathrooms

Put safe needle disposal boxes in the bathrooms of high-risk areas so that employees are protected/stop getting poked and exposed to HIV/AIDS, Hep C, Hep B, etc.

Why is this important?

*Added 1/21/19 The author of this petition ended up getting poked by a dirty needle themselves, after two other coworkers were poked in the same cafe, not long after starting this petition. Since then, the author went to local Seattle news crews, and only after their story aired did Starbucks put safe sharps disposals in six cafes in Seattle, but they were only the cafes that already had an L&I complaint and fine about this issue before. The author still has yet to hear directly from anyone at Starbucks Corporate. The author still fully intends on hand-delivering this petition to Starbucks HQ. The author is obnoxiously tenacious like that.

Exposure to HIV/AIDS, Hep C, Hep B, etc. is a risk in Seattle where there is a heroin/hep c crisis--and an HIV outbreak in at the same time and in the same area that baristas were getting poked by used drug needles while at work. There is no vaccine for Hep C, the available treatment is not a 100% assured cure, and Starbucks refuses to comment to employees when employees mention this risk. Employees risk getting poked, and DO get poked, even when following "protocol" of using gloves and tongs to dispose of used needles left in bathrooms, tampon disposal boxes, and diaper changing stations. It costs almost two thousand dollars just for one round of after-exposure shots, not including other tests, shots, medications, etc. Employees have to pay out-of-pocket for this before being reimbursed until Starbucks's company insurance kicks in. Many baristas cannot afford that, instead resorting to loans and credit cards. Employees who are pregnant or already immuno-compromised have an added risk if poked by a used needle. Employees also have to then use added protection with their sexual partners/spouses for six months minimum/risk exposing them, too. Starbucks makes various excuses from "it looks bad" to "drug users will just take the boxes off the walls and steal the needles." Employees cannot legally be forced to remove needles, but when they ask to call hazmat, they're told "hazmat cost comes from the individual store budget" (a veiled threat of even less staff coverage on an already short-staffed floor because no money to pay them if it is used for hazmat). Making coffee should not come with this kind of easily detoured risk.

How it will be delivered

We're in Seattle--We'll deliver it to HQ in person.


Reasons for signing

  • I'm a store manager and though I agree that it may not be "aesthetically pleasing" to the customer's eye, I worry about my team's safety and my own when changing trash out in my store. We have found numerous needles in our store in the last year (one just laying in the middle of the cafe floor of all places!) and, frankly, I'm over it.
  • I found a needle somebody had disposed of in the toilet. Luckily it was clearly visible instead of hiding in a trash can.
  • Starbucks was my first job. I worked at a store in Manhattan for three years. Eventually I lost track of how many needles I had to pick up and throw away. Based on some of the comments, it seems like this is a long-term, nationwide problem. It is the responsibility of Starbucks to ensure the safety of its employees.

Updates

2019-01-09 15:39:08 -0500

A new Business Insider article reports:
"Starbucks is installing boxes for safe disposal of syringes in the bathrooms of certain locations, following workers' reports of discarded needles and sometimes concerning conditions...

"As of Wednesday, more than 3,700 people have signed a petition on Coworker.org calling for Starbucks to place needle-disposal boxes in high-risk bathrooms."

https://www.businessinsider.com/starbucks-workers-petition-bathroom-needle-disposal-boxes-2019-1

2018-11-15 08:13:40 -0500

1,000 signatures reached

2018-11-15 00:24:28 -0500

500 signatures reached

2018-11-14 07:13:57 -0500

100 signatures reached

2018-11-13 16:43:55 -0500

50 signatures reached

2018-11-11 14:16:29 -0500

25 signatures reached

2018-07-08 18:41:39 -0400

10 signatures reached