Starbucks Workers United informed Starbucks that workers at 150 of its U.S. locations are going on strike, alleging the company has altered its policy over Pride Month decorations.
The union says the strike will continue through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Starbucks has expressed its support for Pride Month and openly backed LGBTQ+ rights. The company denies making any changes to its Pride Month decoration policy.
“Here at Starbucks, we are dedicated to creating experiences where everyone is welcome and respected, with the belief that we are at our best when we create safe, inclusive environments for people to connect over coffee,” Starbucks said in a statement earlier this week. “Recognizing Pride Month every June is a longstanding tradition Starbucks is proud to be a part of. There has been no change to any guidance related to how our stores across the United States celebrate this moment.”
The employees, however, say that Starbucks altered the policy without union approval. The union added that Starbucks refuses to negotiate a fair contract with employees.
“We are taking collective action in response to the company’s unlawful decision to unilaterally alter or terminate store Pride decoration policies without negotiating with our union,” the union said in a statement. “We are also striking over numerous other unfair labor practices, including but not limited to the company’s refusal to negotiate over a first labor contract.”
The union added that a memo was sent to local store operators that emphasized that no policies have changed.
“Starbucks gives autonomy to local leaders to ‘find ways to celebrate.’ These leaders are the same ones issuing many of the Pride bans,” the union said. “Instead of simply apologizing and fixing the issue, Starbucks doubled-down on the message and gaslit workers, managers, AND the public. This is why we need a union contract.”
The 150 stores are among over 16,000 operated by Starbucks in the U.S.