February 21, 2024


Marchers carry a Starbucks across the landmark intersection of Hollywood and Highland during the annual Pride Parade in Los Angeles on June 12, 2022.

David McNew | Getty Images

some organized strikes in america Starbucks Seattle stores opened for business on Friday after the coffee giant and the union representing baristas publicly clashed over claims the company would not allow Pride month decorations at cafes.

More than 150 stores representing nearly 3,500 workers have pledged to join the strike, which will take place next week, the Starbucks Workers United said. The union said more than 20 other stores were voting on strike authorization, a number that could grow to nearly 200 stores by the end of the week.

Last week, the union claimed dozens of U.S. stores did not allow employees to decorate for Pride month, an allegation that shows how a wave of backlash against LGBTQ+ inclusion has spread to what is seen as a liberal bastion of corporate America. Starbucks said it has not revised its store renovation guidelines.

“We want to make it clear – Starbucks has been and will continue to be at the forefront of supporting the LGBTQIA2+ community, and we will not waver in that commitment!” Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan and executive vice president and president of North America Sara Trilling said in a statement on Friday. said in a statement.

“Despite today’s public comments, none of our policies have changed as it pertains to our inclusive store environment, our company culture, and the benefits we offer our partners. We continue to encourage our store leaders to engage with their communities Celebrate together, including that June is American Pride Month, as always,” they added. The executives said they “strongly oppose any attempt by any individual or group to exploit our partners’ cultural and heritage celebrations to cause harm or blatantly spread misinformation for their own benefit.”

Responding to a pledge to strike, the company earlier said, “United Workers continue to spread disinformation about our benefits, policies and negotiation efforts, a tactic that appears to be used to divide our partners and divert their The non-response to the negotiating session exceeded 200 stores.”

exist posts on its websiteStarbucks shared a June 14 letter from May Jensen, vice president of partner resources, to United Workers president Lynne Fox, asking the union to “cease knowingly misleading partners.”

Protesters in Seattle joined the Starbucks Workers United strike over what the union claims has changed the store’s pride decorating policy. Starbucks insisted its policy had not changed and encouraged stores to celebrate within the company’s security and safety guidelines, while unions accused workers in 22 states of being unable to decorate.

Rob Weller | CNBC Money

Workers have been unable to renovate in at least 22 states, the United Workers union said, noting that workers documented their claims on social media accounts. The union said it had filed unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks for changing its policy. Some of the strikes in the coming days are linked to that claim.

Not all stores that are about to strike have issues related to pride decor.

Parker Davis, a 21-year-old barista in San Antonio, Texas, Worked at a store that wasn’t involved in the controversy over its pride decor but would be part of the strike.

“A large percentage of my partners in the store are part of the LGBTQ community and feel that Starbucks’ continued attempts to limit or remove pride decorations are incompatible with the company’s past practices,” Davis said.

Davis told CNBC he expected several pickets, but said it was unclear whether stores would be able to open during the strike.

The public is divided on decorating to celebrate Pride month, with major brands including Target and Bud Light Designed to support the LGBTQ+ community. In both cases, the companies faced backlash from conservative consumers about working with or catering to trans people, and then saw backlash from more liberal consumers because they believed they respected critics.

In Oklahoma, after the recent attack at a Target store, workers were told the restrictions on decoration were due to safety concerns, the union said.

Protesters in Seattle joined the Starbucks Workers United strike over what the union claims has changed the store’s pride decorating policy. Starbucks insisted its policy had not changed and encouraged stores to celebrate within the company’s security and safety guidelines, while unions accused workers in 22 states of being unable to decorate.

Rob Weller | CNBC Money

Starbucks workers also went on strike over claims the coffee chain was stalling in contract negotiations.

“A good-faith bargain looks like both sides are making proposals and trying to agree in the middle – something Starbucks is unwilling to do,” the Workers union said in a statement. Yes, we’ve had an economic proposal for more than a month, and Starbucks has failed to temporarily agree to a single line of the proposal or present a single counter-proposal. What Starbucks is doing is not a bargain.” , it’s stalling. “

Davis said the walkout “is important to me because it sends the message that we will not stand idly by while Starbucks continues to delay contract negotiations and continue to engage in union disruption.”

Starbucks has insisted that the workers’ union has so far responded to only a quarter of the more than 450 negotiating meetings Starbucks has proposed for individual stores across the country, and has said it is committed to advancing negotiations on the first contract.

Protesters in Seattle joined the Starbucks Workers United strike over what the union claims has changed the store’s pride decorating policy. Starbucks insisted its policy had not changed and encouraged stores to celebrate within the company’s security and safety guidelines, while unions accused workers in 22 states of being unable to decorate.

Rob Weller | CNBC Money

The Roastery, where the strike began on Friday, has not seen any controversy over its proud decor, but the solidarity has also been shocking. During the day, about two dozen unionized employees protested outside the store. A Starbucks spokesman said the store was closed after a brief opening.

Mari Cosgrove, a 28-year-old barista at the Seattle Roastery, told CNBC: “The Roastery wants to show its solidarity with all the workers in the company who have been discriminated against.”

“When those flags were taken down, frankly, it felt like an attack,” Cosgrove said. “The partners in these stores were really happy to be seen and feel like this was their community space. Proud to be the third, including its employees.”

More than 300 company-owned stores have voted to unionize since the application was first filed in August 2021, but Starbucks and the union have yet to agree on a contract.

Starbucks has more than 9,000 company-owned stores in the U.S.

— CNBC’s Amelia Lucas contributed to this report.