The Starbucks Official Reusable Red Cup, left, and the Starbucks Workers United Red Cup.
Source: Starbucks; Starbucks Workers Union
Workers at more than 100 unionized Starbucks locations plan to strike Thursday, one of the chain’s biggest sales days of the year.
To celebrate the holiday season, Starbucks offers reusable red cups bearing the company logo with any purchase each year. The coffee chain’s Red Cup has become a must-have gift for collectors, and this year’s event marks its 25th anniversary.
On Thursday, organizers at the 113 striking locations plan to distribute a version of the Grinch’s red cup holding an ornament emblazoned with the Starbucks union logo in protest. These actions are expected to affect store operations for part of the day.
This is the largest collective action Starbucks Workers United has taken in its organizing efforts in the past year.
The union said the strike was to draw attention to the company’s union-busting and refusal to negotiate contracts fairly. Starbucks has denied all allegations of unfair labor practices.
In the past 12 months, about 260 company-owned Starbucks locations have voted to unionize under Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. That’s a small fraction of the 9,000 company-operated locations in the U.S., but the union push has inspired similar actions by Trader Joe’s and workers. Chipotle Mexican Grill.
The number of new cafes filing for union elections has fallen in recent months, but a contract deal could give the movement a boost.
In late September, Starbucks sent letters to more than 200 locations saying it was ready to begin contract negotiations. But Starbucks Workers United argues the company did not bargain in good faith.
Talks between the two sides quickly broke down over disagreement over whether union members could join the talks via Zoom. Starbucks representatives walked out minutes after the meetings began, citing federal regulations and insisting on face-to-face negotiations only.
“Broadcasting or recording these in-person sessions undermines the interests of our partners because the negotiations may warrant discussion by name of individuals and may address many sensitive topics,” Starbucks said. Blog on its anti-union website.
The company negotiated 22 complaints with the National Labor Relations Board.
On Tuesday, the Federal Labor Board filed an injunction, asking the court to order a halt to layoffs across the country.
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