Workers at over 100 unionized Starbucks stores around the US have walked off the job, coinciding with Starbucks’ Red Cup Day, a promotional day where customers receive a free red reusable holiday Starbucks cup when they order a holiday seasonal beverage.
The strike was launched to protest against Starbucks’ failure to bargain with unionized stores and failure to adequately staff stores, especially on one of Starbucks’ busiest days where no pay differential is offered to workers. About 2,000 workers at 112 stores participated in the strikes in 25 states.
Workers have criticized Starbucks for delaying union bargaining after union elections and recently walking out on recent bargaining sessions across the US.
“Red Cup Day is notoriously difficult on baristas and notoriously profitable for Starbucks: striking on a day that affects both us and customers more so than an average day is a great way to connect with the community about why unions in the workplace are needed, and how they can help their local unions succeed while keeping businesses running,” said Emily Schule, a Starbucks barista in Massachusetts, in a statement on the strike actions.
More than 260 Starbucks stores have unionized around the US since December 2021. Starbucks Workers United have accused the company of delaying and dragging out bargaining sessions for a first union contract and filed numerous unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
The NLRB has issued 39 complaints against Starbucks, encompassing more than 900 unfair labor practice charges. Starbucks Workers United has claimed over 150 union leaders have been fired around the country in 2022 in retaliation for union organizing.