Union Calls Strike at Starbucks Over Pride Displays

Company says there's been no change in its support of LGBTQ+ causes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 23, 2023 3:43 PM CDT
Starbucks Argues Strike Rationale
Pedestrians pass a Starbucks in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan last week.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Workers at 150 Starbucks locations plan to strike in the coming week over what their union says is a clash over decor supporting LGBTQ+ causes. The company denies it's banned any such displays and accused the union of using misinformation as a tactic in labor talks. Starbucks Workers United said in a tweet Friday that 3,500 workers will be on strike over the next week, starting with the flagship location in Seattle, the AP reports. The union has tried to establish a foothold at Starbucks for some time, and at least 358 Starbucks stores have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to hold union elections. A Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, became the first to unionize early last year.

But the effort has slowed in recent months with pushback from some workers who have resisted organization efforts. Starbucks on Friday said Workers United is using misinformation about its support for LGBTQ+ causes as part of ongoing contract negotiations. "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," Starbucks said in a written statement. The company said last week that there had been no change to any policy on the matter and that its support for LGBTQ+ causes is "unwavering."

Workers United says store managers around the country have curtailed or removed displays during a monthlong celebration of LGBTQ+ people. In some cases, the union said, managers told workers that Pride displays were a safety concern, citing recent incidents at Target where some angry customers tipped over merchandise and confronted workers. Starbucks said recent anti-LGBTQ+ social media campaigns against brands like Disney, Target and Bud Light in some parts of the country have not changed its stance.

(More Starbucks stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.