Friday 23 June 2023

Starbucks Workers At Over 150 Stores Will Strike Over Pride Decor, Union Says

 Starbucks workers at more than 150 locations will go on strike over accusations that the company is not allowing Pride month decor in cafes, the Starbucks workers union said Friday.

The union, Starbucks Workers United, said more than 150 stores with close to 3,500 workers have pledged to strike over the next week. More than two dozen more stores are voting on strike authorizations, which could bring the count up to nearly 200 stores, according to the union.

“STRIKE WITH PRIDE! Seattle Roastery leads nationwide Starbucks strike over Starbucks’ hypocritical treatment of LGBTQIA+ workers,” the union wrote in a tweet Friday.

Last week, the union claimed that Starbucks had restricted Pride month decorations in some stores, suggesting that the famously liberal Seattle coffee giant bowed to pressure from conservatives to deemphasize Pride Month.

Starbucks denied the allegations and said the company has not changed its policy on store decor this year, noting that some stores have shared their Pride decorations on social media.

“We unwaveringly support the LGBTQIA2+ community. 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,” a Starbucks spokesperson said. “We’re deeply concerned by false information that is being spread.”

However, the union responded by claiming that internal documents show that regional Starbucks leaders in more conservative areas of the country had decided to cancel Pride celebrations this year.

The union tweeted a long list of demands that meshed LGBT issues with workers’ issues.

One of the demands is “consistent hours,” which will help workers access healthcare, “including gender-affirming care,” the union said.

The union is also demanding gender-neutral bathrooms, a grievance procedure, protection from discrimination and sexual harassment, “an end to intimidation tactics” like withholding credit card tipping, and “a real voice at work.”

“Starbucks tokenizes queer & trans workers and uses us for positive PR & profit, but they don’t want to listen to us. Enough of the performative progressivism – we demand Starbucks come to the table to bargain a contract that legally GUARANTEES our rights,” the union tweeted.

Starbucks is well known for being an early adopter of progressive policies for its workers.

In 1988, Starbucks offered full health benefits to same-sex couples. In 2013, the company began covering gender surgeries for trans-identifying people. In 2015, Starbucks began allowing workers to use a name “consistent with their gender identity or expression.”

However, Starbucks is not known for being friendly to the idea of its workers unionizing.

“I don’t think a union has a place in Starbucks,” former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said last year, adding that if employees “file for a petition to be unionized, they have a right to do so. But we as a company have a right also to say, we have a different vision that is better.”

In recent months, major companies including Bud Light and Target have received backlash and watched their stock nosedive in response to their aggressive LGBT marketing.

Target pulled some LGBT-themed kid’s clothing after the backlash.

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