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Home » Thousands of Starbucks Baristas Set to Strike Amid Pride Decorations Dispute

Thousands of Starbucks Baristas Set to Strike Amid Pride Decorations Dispute

by Thomas Burke
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Several thousand Starbucks workers are slated to go on strike over the next week amid a dispute with the coffee giant regarding LGBTQ store displays during Pride month.

Starbucks Workers United, the group leading efforts to unionize Starbucks workers, tweeted Friday that more than 150 stores and 3,500 workers “will be on strike over the course of the next week” due to the company’s “treatment of queer & trans workers.”

Workers at Starbucks’ flagship store, the Seattle Roastery, went on strike Friday, with dozens of picketing outside.

Earlier this month, the collective accused Starbucks of banning Pride month displays at some of its stores.

“In union stores, where Starbucks claims they are unable to make ‘unilateral changes’ without bargaining, the company took down Pride decorations and flags anyway — ignoring their own anti-union talking point,” the group tweeted on June 13.

In a statement provided to CBS News Friday, a Starbucks spokesperson vehemently denied the allegations, saying that “Workers United continues to spread false information about our benefits, policies and negotiation efforts, a tactic used to seemingly divide our partners and deflect from their failure to respond to bargaining sessions for more than 200 stores.”

In a letter sent last week to Workers United, May Jensen, Starbucks vice president of partner resources, expressed the company’s “unwaveringly support” for “the LGBTQIA2+ community,” adding that “there has been no change to any corporate policy on this matter and we continue to empower retail leaders to celebrate with their communities including for U.S. Pride month in June.”

Since workers at a Starbucks store in Buffalo, New York, became the first to vote to unionize in late 2021, Starbucks has been accused of illegal attempts to thwart such efforts nationwide. To date, at least 330 Starbucks stores have voted to unionize, according to Workers United, but none have reached a collective bargaining agreement with the company.

Judges have ruled that Starbucks repeatedly broke labor laws, including by firing pro-union workers, interrogating them and threatening to rescind benefits if employees organized, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

In March, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz also denied the allegations when he was grilled about them during a public Senate hearing.  

“These are allegations,” Schultz said at the time. “These will be proven not true.”

Source : CBS

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