Starbucks will introduce ‘clearer’ guidelines on decor after Pride clash

Starbucks will introduce 'clearer' guidelines on decor after Pride clash

Starbucks reacted after workers at more than 150 stores went on strike during a week beginning Friday to protest the company’s decor policy, its treatment of LGBTQ workers and generally unfair labor practices.

Starbucks Workers United said Monday that the strike would continue until the company agreed to come to the bargaining table. The union said in a statement, “While we are pleased that Starbucks is finally reconsidering its position on Pride decorations, Starbucks is ignoring that they are legally required to bargain with union workers — that’s Union is the strength.”

A Starbucks spokesperson said about 12 stores have been closed every day since the strike began.

The company also filed two charges before the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the union of launching “a stigma campaign” against it by misrepresenting the company’s stance on LGBTQ issues, including its stance on gender-affirming care. Profit policy was also included.

The charges said, “The union’s violations have incited workplace tensions and divisions and incited strikes and other business disruptions at Starbucks stores.”

The union said it was confident those allegations would be dismissed, calling it a “public relations stunt”.

How companies approach pride marketing has been the subject of increasing scrutiny.

Bud Light faced criticism and saw sales decline after a transgender influencer posted a promotional video for the American beer staple. Target, one of the nation’s largest retailers, said it had to move its Pride collection to prevent further threats to its employees.

The union has called several strikes over the past year over aggressive anti-union tactics, such as retaliation and delayed bargaining. In response to tensions with the union, Starbucks adopted a strict dress code and decorum policy to prevent employees from filling stores with union paraphernalia.

The union, which first petitioned in August 2021 at three stores, now represents the company’s nearly 8,000 employees at more than 300 stores.

Starbucks has faced dozens of complaints from the National Labor Relations Board, including one in April that accused the company of failing to bargain in good faith with workers at more than 100 stores. In March, the coffee giant faced a scathing ruling from an administrative law judge who concluded that it illegally retaliated against unionized workers.

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