150 starbucks employees walk off the job over pride decorations
A dispute over the coffee chain’s policy regarding Pride decorations in stores led to a strike by employees at about 150 unionized Starbucks locations in the United States on Friday.
According to Starbucks (SBUX) Workers United, the union for organized stores, the company has restricted Pride Month decorations in some locations, showing “hypocritical treatment of LGBTQIA+ workers.” Starbucks (SBUX) has vehemently refuted this assertion.
Approximately 3,500 workers “will be on strike over the next week,” according to a tweet from Starbucks Workers United.
As long as the decorations follow safety regulations, store managers are free to decorate their locations however they please for Pride and other heritage months. According to Starbucks, none of the company’s stores have a policy against Pride decorations.
The business also mentioned how numerous stores had posted pictures of their Pride decorations on social media.
“We firmly stand behind the LGBTQIA2+ community. A Starbucks representative stated, “We’re deeply concerned by the false information that is being spread. There has been no change to any policy on this matter, and we continue to encourage our store leaders to celebrate with their communities, including for US Pride month in June.
Based on internal documents and store manager testimonies, the union countered on Twitter that the company’s “own responses have not been consistent”.
Local leaders are given freedom by Starbucks to ‘find ways to celebrate.’ The statement referred to an article stating that Pride decorations were prohibited from about 100 locations throughout parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. “These leaders are the same ones issuing many Pride bans,” it said. Those areas are located in some of the more conservative parts of the bitterly divided US. Numerous Starbucks locations across the nation have Pride decorations up.
According to Starbucks Workers United, this is an instance of Starbucks caving into pressure, just like Target did when it relocated or took Pride-related merchandise out of some stores. Pride has turned into a political flashpoint this year as the right has criticized businesses for hosting inclusive events.
However, Starbucks Corporate has not altered any merchandising or other policies, even though some individual managers have taken down their Pride decorations.
The Seattle-based business has a history of progressive employee policies going back to 1988 when same-sex partners were given access to full health benefits. Two years after allowing employees to use a name or nickname that is “consistent with their gender identity or expression,” the company added health coverage for gender reassignment surgery in 2013.
However, Starbucks has developed a reputation for being hostile to unionization. A National Labour Relations Board judge alleged in March that Starbucks had engaged in “egregious and widespread misconduct” in its interactions with workers who were trying to organize stores in Buffalo, New York.
Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, had been a vocal opponent of unions.
According to Schultz, “I don’t think a union has a place in Starbucks,” Poppy Harlow of CNN reported. Employees have the right to “file for a petition to be unionized. However, the company has the right to assert its superior alternative vision.