Will a strike on ‘Red Cup Day’ get Starbucks to change its anti-union tune?
Baristas at over 100 Starbucks stores across the country have called a one-day strike for today, one of the chain’s busiest days of the year (AKA Red Cup Day).
The workers, who are members of Starbucks Workers United, said that they called for the action in response to the coffee giant’s reprisals against union organizers and for its refusal to bargain on a labor deal for its members.
The total number of stores calling for strikes has been reported to be 113 by CNBC and 112 by CNN and The Washington Post. The stores represent less than half the 264 Starbucks that have voted in favor of joining Workers United, an organizing affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Starbucks operates nearly 9,000 locations across the U.S.
Red Cup Day represents Starbucks’ official kickoff of the holiday season, when customers who make qualifying purchases receive a reusable travel mug. This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the promotion.
Striking baristas are calling today the “Red Cup Rebellion” with more than 2,000 workers spread across 25 states said to be taking part. Workers, who plan to picket at store entrances in locations across the country, say they will hand out red cups designed by the union. The cups are meant to resemble the hand of the Grinch holding a Christmas ball decorated with the Starbucks Workers United logo.
Baristas are hoping that their action will get Starbucks to modify its aggressive approach to union workers and begin to negotiate on a good faith basis.
The coffee chain claims that it is willing to negotiate with workers’ representatives but that it is the union that is preventing talks from happening.
A.J. Jones, executive vice president of communications at Starbucks, told NPR that the chain has been “overly aggressive” in trying to start labor talks. He said the coffee giant has offered to sit down with the union but that its representatives have called for the talks to be recorded or broadcast over social media.
“Under the National Labor Relations Act, you are not allowed to record bargaining sessions. And that actually is a clear violation of the act because of what’s being discussed,” Mr Jones said.
The union claims that Mr. Jones is misrepresenting its position, that the union is simply trying to include its members in the talks by having them on Zoom calls, which is allowed under law.
- One more day… #redcuprebellion – Twitter
- Starbucks union to strike at more than 100 locations on Red Cup Day, one of the chain’s busiest days of the year – CNBC
- About 2,000 Starbucks workers stage one-day strike at more than 100 stores – CNN
- Starbucks workers plan strike on ‘Red Cup Day’ over stalled labor talks – The Washington Post
- On Red Cup Day, thousands of Starbucks workers go on strike – NPR
- Here’s a look at this year’s Starbucks holiday drinks and cups – Starbucks
- Starbucks Workers United
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you expect to come out of the one-day strike being called by members of Starbucks Workers United? Is it in the best interests of Starbucks to reach a detente with the union or should management continue to aggressively push back against unions at every turn?