More Than 3,000 Starbucks Workers Are Striking With Pride Over Unfair Decor Policy

Starting today, June 23, unionized Starbucks employees are taking a stand and striking over what is said to be due to the unfair treatment of their LGBTQIA+ staff members. "STRIKE WITH PRIDE!" a tweet from the Starbucks Workers United account reads. "Seattle Roastery leads nationwide Starbucks strike over Starbucks' hypocritical treatment of LGBTQIA+ workers. Over 150+ stores and 3,500 workers will be on strike over the course of the next week." 

This comes as a direct response to allegations that multiple Starbucks locations across the United States have not let employees decorate their stores in celebration of Pride Month. In a viral TikTok video, @sbworkersunited shared a quick snippet of Pride flags being taken down and also posted multiple instances of Starbucks employees communicating their own accounts of managers forcing them to remove Pride decorations or not allowing them to put any up at all. The union also tweeted a press release that contained the specific allegations brought forth by many Starbucks employees across many coffee locations. 

Organized labor at Starbucks has been a hot issue since August 2021, when one store in Buffalo, New York filed to unionize and several more followed suit. According to CNBC, of the 9,000+ company-owned Starbucks locations, 300 have put unionization to a vote and have yet to reach a contract between the coffee conglomerate and Workers United.

Starbucks responds to anti-Pride allegations

Starbucks employees in multiple locations across the United States set their sights on striking in solidarity with their LGBTQIA+ employees over allegations of stores refusing Pride decorations during this month of celebration. In response, Starbucks has spoken out, saying no official changes have ever been made to its Pride policies. "To be clear: There has been no change to company policies or corporate new guidance issued to store leaders regarding Pride Month celebrations," the chain said in a statement on its website. "We continue to encourage our store leaders to celebrate the diversity of our partners and customers within their communities, including for Pride Month. Our store leaders are each empowered to decorate their stores for heritage months, including Pride Month, within the framework of our established store safety guidelines." The statement also fires back at Workers United, stating that the group "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."

The back and forth continues between Starbucks and Workers United, as the union also pointed out in an emailed statement that The National Labor Relations Board is prosecuting the coffee institution and that "Starbucks committed 161 federal labor law violations, including 19 unlawful discharges."