Starbucks is set to grapple with walkouts at hundreds of its US stores as the union representing thousands of its workers plans a protest on one of the coffee giant’s busiest days.
The clash between Starbucks and Starbucks Workers United, which commenced organizing efforts in 2021, revolves around disputes concerning pay, scheduling, and various other issues. The work stoppage on November 16 is anticipated to impact approximately 200 stores.
The union, emphasizing the need for improved treatment of workers, asserts that Starbucks has the financial capacity to enhance its compensation practices.
The protest, coinciding with Starbucks’ ‘Red Cup’ day featuring the distribution of holiday-themed cups, will unfold with varying durations at different locations, ranging from a few hours to most of the day.
Starbucks Workers United aims to draw attention to the coffee company’s alleged unwillingness to engage in fair contract negotiations with unionized stores.
Grievances extend to work conditions, including insufficient staffing during promotional events. Union leader Michelle Eisen anticipates increased participation from customers and community activists, signaling potential reputational risks for Starbucks.
Starbucks, boasting around 10,000 US stores, downplays expectations of significant disruption, emphasizing its substantial investments in higher wages, training, and equipment.
The company blames the union for negotiation delays, citing successful talks at Canadian stores. Despite workers at approximately 350 US locations joining the union since 2021, Starbucks vehemently opposes the movement and faces allegations of labor law violations.
Administrative law judges have found the company in violation of labor laws, but Starbucks, known for appealing such rulings, denies any wrongdoing.
The union campaign has garnered attention for its impact on workers at other companies, with Starbucks accused of taking drastic measures, including firing workers and closing stores, to impede the movement.
Former CEO Howard Schultz appeared before Congress last year to address the union’s claims, highlighting the campaign’s influence on the broader labor movement in the country.
Last Updated: 16 November 2023