Why Protestors Superglued Their Hands To A Starbucks Counter

There's been so much talk about the efforts made by Starbucks employees to unionize that when we first heard the story of protestors supergluing their hands to a downtown Chicago Starbucks counter, our first guess was that it might be related to the fact that Starbucks recently won a huge victory in a labor trial involving three disgruntled (and now former) employee union advocates from Phoenix. As we watched the way this protest began to unfold, however, we realized immediately that this was no inside job. Fox32 Chicago reports that the two men, both in their 30s to 40s, had waited in line as your average Starbucks customer would, but when it was their respective turns, which they had somehow managed to ensure would occur simultaneously, instead of placing an order, each superglued a palm to the counter.

The supergluing happened so quickly, you might not have noticed anything was amiss until one of the men, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, began a loud and impassioned plea, which, ultimately, had nothing to do with the human working conditions that Starbucks employees are seeking to improve via their organizational efforts. Rather, it had to do with the working conditions of dairy cows. So, what did that have to do with superglue? Or Starbucks, for that matter? Read on as we unpack the drama, which ended up lasting for more than 40 minutes, much to the apparent consternation of some.

An unoriginal but effective protest

The morning business at a Starbucks located on Chicago's Loop was interrupted on June 15 when two men arrived at the counter and promptly superglued their hands to it (per Fox32 Chicago). "Stop charging extra for the plant based animal and earth friendly options," one shouted by way of introduction, apparently referring to Starbucks' practice of charging more for plant-based milk alternatives than for milk, which has been criticized by many, including celebrities Paul McCartney and James Cromwell

"My cow friends are suffering," the other said dolefully before explaining that dairy cows are forced to lactate continuously until the day they're eventually slaughtered for meat. Aha! So, this was not only about extortion in the form of vegan milk upcharges but also about the plight of the American dairy cow. Looping the two themes together, the first man went on to explain that Starbucks "encourages" customers to opt for vegan alternatives while still charging extra. 

"PETA will stick to Starbucks like glue until they decide to drop the vegan upcharge" the first man pointed out, finally explaining where the glue came in and just in time for more protestors to make their own dramatic entrances, chanting rhythmically and holding up signs in protest of the mixed message that Starbucks' milk-pricing rubric would appear to comprise. Not surprisingly, law enforcement arrived soon after to arrest the two men, whose hands were released quite easily in response to ice water, for criminal trespassing (per NBC Chicago).