Thousands of workers at organized Starbucks stores across the country will go on strike next week. their union said on FridayAfter workers in some states said management blocked them from decorating for Pride Month, the company made allegations that are false.
Starbucks Workers United said employees at more than 150 stores are protesting the company’s labor practices and its “Hypocritical treatment of LGBTQIA+ activists,
The union represents the company’s roughly 8,000 employees in more than 300 stores.
Richmond Heights, Mo. Moe Mills, who works at a Starbucks location in the U.S., said in a statement provided by the union, “Starbucks is afraid of the power of its gay partners, and they should be.”
The union said it is striking over changes to Pride decoration policies, which it argues should be negotiated, as well as the company’s broader response to the organizing campaign, which has included widespread retaliation against union supporters. Is. In its statement, the union said the workers were “demanding that Starbucks negotiate a fair contract with union stores and stop its illegal union-busting campaign.”
The company has consistently denied allegations of illegality.
Starbucks employees in several stores said this month they’ve been told this year no decorations like rainbow flags are allowed for the annual LGBTQ celebration, a change from years past. In interviews conducted through their union, workers said the reasons varied.
Starbucks, which has approximately 9,300 corporate-owned stores in the United States, has stated that decor policies are often specific to each store.
But a Starbucks official involved in the response to the union campaign said the company decided last year, when the union campaign began spreading across the country, to loosen dress codes and policies on what can be posted in stores. Had to be more aggressive in enforcement. The official, on condition of anonymity, said the change was made because of concerns that otherwise many shops would be filled with union paraphernalia.
On Friday, a Starbucks spokeswoman called the claim “false” and said the company’s guidance on displays and decorations had not changed over the past nine years.
Starbucks employees and the union say it has more aggressively enforced rules on employee conduct as a way to intimidate and retaliate against union supporters.
Union spokeswoman Casey Moore said, “They’re trying to make people feel unwelcome any way they can — by more strictly enforcing the dress code or anything.” “The decoration of pride is another level of that.”
In a sweeping ruling in March, a federal administrative law judge found that Starbucks had repeatedly violated labor law “by more strictly enforcing the dress code and personal appearance policy in response to union activity.” The judge also found that the company more strictly enforced its attendance policy and its policy of soliciting and distributing notices within stores.
Starbucks has disputed the findings and is appealing the decision to the National Labor Relations Board in Washington.
Unionized Starbucks workers have held several strikes over the past several months over the company’s delaying tactics at the bargaining table and other anti-union tactics such as retaliation and store closures. The administrative judge’s ruling in March also found that Starbucks illegally terminated seven Buffalo-area workers last year in response to union activity.
In April, the Labor Board issued a complaint accused the company of failing to bargain in good faith at more than 100 stores. It was one of dozens of complaints related to labor law violations that the board has issued since the union first petitioned for an August 2021 vote at three Buffalo-area stores.
The company has denied the allegations and blamed the union for delaying bargaining, insisting the union used video-chat software to broadcast sessions for workers not seated at the bargaining table.
Howard Schultz denied allegations of anti-union conduct in testimony before a Senate committee shortly after stepping down as chief executive of Starbucks in March.