The Longest Starbucks Strike In History Is Underway

When Starbucks employees began to unionize in the winter of 2021, it granted them the right to strike as they see fit. And strike they have been, one of note occurring at the end of November when 2,000 Starbucks employees went on a one-day strike across dozens of stores (per The New York Times). Those participating were hoping to negotiate for increased pay and sick leave benefits, as well as speak out against the company's "anti-union tactics like firings and store closings." According to protesters, benefits were only getting better in stores that hadn't unionized, and union-supporting employees were being fired at a rapid rate.

Union-related strikes at Starbucks began well into the pandemic, when the first Starbucks store to unionize did so in December of 2021. The unrest brewed at a time of strained relations between employers and employees all over the country. As New Mexico-based law partner Nicholas Hart told Forbes, the pandemic made essential workers realize that "every job matters the same. It doesn't matter whether that's an hourly worker at Starbucks or a white-collar worker in an office." This sentiment has fueled Starbucks' workers fight for better working conditions, and it's inspired a current strike that will be the longest in the coffee chain's history.

The strike will go on for 3 days

On Friday, December 16, more than 1,000 Starbucks workers across 100 stores began a three-day strike after what many employees cited as unfair treatment, reports AP News. "We have had stores close and absorbed partners, which makes it harder to stretch the hours that we are allotted between brand new partners," barista Finn Dorris said of their hours being cut for the holidays. Shift supervisor Teddy Hoffman said that they hope striking would send the message that employees "aren't going to tolerate being abused" by Starbucks. As an impact of the strike, several stores will completely close while some will be kept open by management. According to Starbucks, the first day of the demonstration resulted in no significant impact on operations.

The Starbucks' Workers United Twitter page shared info about the strike earlier today, which was followed by comments from those who support the employees' efforts. "Haven't stepped foot in a Starbucks since they refused to recognize the first store. I look forward to your victory and contract!" one comment read. Another wrote, "Hope it helps the campaign. Stay strong comrades." The 100 striking stores are situated throughout the country; today, protesters could be seen everywhere from Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, to Saint Paul, Minnesota.