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Morning Notes

The crowds returned for the first Taste of Vienna since the COVID-19 pandemic started (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Reminder: FFXnow Wants Your Input — FFXnow is conducting a survey to learn more about our readers and help shape future coverage. What kinds of stories interest you? Have strong feelings about the Tysons Reporter and Reston Now merger, or the length of our stories? Let us know before the survey closes after Sunday, May 15.

Former Falls Church Bicycle Shop Owner’s Mythology Unravels — “We’re not just talking about one man’s fabrications, but the ripples from those fabrications: a team of riders that allege abuse at [Nick] Clark’s hands, a series of embellished life events stretching back to the 1990s, ties with the political and military elite, alleged misrepresentations across multiple industries, and possible stolen military valour.” [Cycling Tips]

Police Thanked for Catching Victoria’s Secret Thieves — “The Fairfax County Police Department’s Tysons Urban Team (TUT) was recognized by executives from Victoria’s Secret on Friday for breaking up a retail theft ring. The thieves are believed to be responsible for the loss of more than $250,000 of merchandise from stores throughout the southern U.S.” [FCPD/Facebook]

Woman Who Sold Mantua Home With Squatter Speaks — “After days of speculation about the identity of the person living in the basement of a viral Zillow listing, the woman has come forward to tell her side of the unusual story. Last week, her Fairfax, Va., home…sold for more than $800,000 with the condition that it came with a person living in the basement who did not have a lease.” [WUSA9]

FCPD Seeks Person Behind Clifton Starbucks Vandalism — “Officers responded to the Starbucks at 5748 Union Mill Road in Clifton for a burglary report on April 27, when someone broke the front window and stole a Progress Pride flag from inside and left. The following morning, officers responded to the same Starbucks for a similar incident.” [ABC7]

Metro Shares Plan to Electrify Bus Fleet — “Metro expects to purchase 12 electric buses and associated charging equipment this year as part of the Battery-Electric Bus Test and Evaluation Program. The buses will begin arriving late this year and go into service in 2023 out of the Shepherd Parkway Bus Division.” [WMATA]

Man Convicted of Killing Fairfax Couple Denied Parole — “The Maryland Parole Commission denied parole to Sifrit, in his first parole hearing, since being sentenced to 38 years in prison, after he and his then-wife Erika killed and dismembered Martha Crutchley and Joshua Ford, of Fairfax City, over Memorial Day weekend almost 20 years ago.” [WTOP]

Capital One Center Named “Best New Development” — The Washington Business Journal has given its “Best New Development” award to Capital One Center, which is bringing 1.47 million square feet of construction to the financial company’s Tysons headquarters. The Reston Gateway office high-rises in Boston Properties’ Reston Town Center expansion was named a finalist. [WBJ]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 76 and low of 60. Sunrise at 6:11 am and sunset at 8:03 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Starbucks at 3046 Gatehouse Plaza in Merrifield (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A Starbucks in Merrifield has unionized.

About a month after filing a petition for an election, workers at the cafe at 3046 Gate House Plaza voted 30-2 in support of forming a union on Friday (April 22), becoming the coffee company’s first store in Fairfax County to take that step.

“My first reaction was just happiness,” employee and organizer Claudia Sol said. “We’re all very proud of each other for what we were able to accomplish…It’s pretty amazing to see all the work that our store did to be able to unionize, and we’re looking forward to what’s to come.”

Some local elected officials, including Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik and Del. Marcus Simon (D-53), stopped by the store both before and after the vote to show their support for its unionizing efforts.

“Everyone deserves a good union job with fair pay, quality health care, and rights at work,” SEIU Virginia 512 President David Broder said. “The Merrifield Starbucks workers’ overwhelming vote to unionize is an historic moment and yet another sign that working people in Fairfax County are organizing for an economy that works for all of us.”

The landslide victory came just nine days after union proponents suffered a defeat in Springfield, where Starbucks workers voted 10-8 against unionizing on April 13.

While she doesn’t have any direct knowledge of what happened in Springfield, Sol says she heard that the district manager was “really aggressive” when talking to workers one-on-one in the lead-up to their election.

Organizers told NPR that Starbucks cut their hours and warned benefits and promotions would be at risk if they unionized, though the company has denied engaging in union-busting activities. Workers United, the union that employees hoped to join, filed charges against Starbucks last week, alleging retaliation, coercive threats, and other issues to the National Labor Relations Board. Read More

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Morning Notes

Flowers and plants line tables on the side of Franconia Road in front of Edison High School for the athletic boosters’ spring flower sale, which runs through at least Memorial Day (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

Starbucks Workers Vote Down Union — “A streak of unionizing at Starbucks has been broken, with workers at a store in Springfield, Virginia, voting against the union.” [NPR, Twitter]

Last Day for Donations — The donation drive to help Ukrainians that the Northern Virginia Regional Commission organized is coming to an end today. Donations can be dropped off in locations in Fairfax County, Alexandria, Arlington and other locations. [Twitter]

Homes are Hot in Dunn Loring — “The Dunn Loring area was the hottest in the Sun Gazette’s Fairfax County coverage area in terms of home-buyer interest over the past month, according to new data.” [Sun Gazette]

Clean Up a Tysons Roadway — “The Great Falls Group @SierraClub will pick up litter & debris on 1.32 miles of Jones Branch Dr, Tysons Corner. Come out to meet & mingle with other Club members, & help clean up a roadway! Litter bags will be provided.” Pickup is on Saturday, 4/23, 9 a.m.-11 a.m.  [Twitter]

County Wants Input on Connector Changes — “Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) will hold a virtual community input meeting, Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 7 p.m on Fairfax Connector proposed service changes for October 2022. The public is encouraged to give feedback on the proposed changes via an online survey (survey begins Wednesday, April 20, 2022), email, mail and by phone through May 6, 2022.” [Fairfax County Government]

First County Poet Laureate Tenure Ends — “#FairfaxCounty, it’s been an honor to be your first poet laureate. I wrote this poem to mark the end of my tenure and delivered it at tonight’s Board meeting. Thanks for trusting me to serve, @artsfairfax !” [Twitter]

It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 67 and low of 47. Sunrise at 6:33 a.m. and sunset at 7:47 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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Vienna’s Starbucks is closed for renovation (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Commuters passing through Vienna will need to last another week without their Starbucks fix.

The drive-thru cafe at 362 Maple Avenue East has been closed since Sunday (March 13) for renovations, as indicated by multiple signs posted around the building.

However, the coffee chain’s absence from town won’t be felt for long. The store will reopen on March 26, a Starbucks spokesperson told FFXnow.

“As a standard course of business, we continually evaluate our store portfolio, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers,” the spokesperson said in an email. “…The store will reopen with new furniture, art, and handoff counter to better serve customers in the Vienna, Va., community.”

Starbucks employees elsewhere in the country have reported less savory reasons for store closures, as more than 100 locations explore the possibility of unionizing.

Workers in Merrifield and Springfield stores are currently seeking to hold union elections, becoming the first sites in Fairfax County to join the nationwide Starbucks Workers United campaign.

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Starbucks workers at 3046 Gatehouse Plaza in Merrifield are seeking to unionize (via Google Maps)

The unionization wave sweeping through Starbucks across the country has arrived in Fairfax County.

Workers in Merrifield (3046 Gate House Plaza) and Springfield (7475 Huntsman Boulevard) have filed for union elections, joining a cafe in Leesburg as the first unionizing stores in Northern Virginia, Starbucks Workers United confirmed.

As of yesterday (Tuesday), 140 stores in 27 states have filed for elections since workers in Buffalo, New York, voted to form the union in December.

The Springfield store filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 23, and the Merrifield store went public with its plan to unionize with Workers United last week, earning a shoutout from Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.

Workers officially filed for an election on Friday (March 11) after distributing union cards and sending a letter of intent to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, Merrifield employee and organizing committee member Claudia Sol told FFXnow.

“Ultimately what motivates me towards unionization is the fact that the driving force behind a company’s profit is the worker,” Sol said. “To me, it’s absurd that the company refers to us as partners when we don’t have any say on policies that directly affect us and the work we do.”

First hired by Starbucks in November 2019, Sol says she loves her job, coworkers, and interacting with regular customers, even returning to the store in October after initially quitting in June 2021.

However, she describes the work environment as fast-paced, unpredictable, and both physically and mentally stressful. The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly exacerbated challenges with staffing and health and safety standards, she says. Read More

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