Starbucks Union Raises Pressure With Plan to Strike Over Pride Décor

Thousands of workers at organized Starbucks stores across the country will go on strike over the next week. Their union announced on Friday.The move comes after workers in some states said management had banned them from displaying decorations during Pride Month, a move the company claims is false.

Starbucks Workers United has announced that employees at more than 150 stores will go on strike over the company’s labor practices and its “labor practices.”Hypocritical treatment of LGBTQIA+ workers

The union represents approximately 8,000 employees in the company’s more than 300 stores.

“Starbucks fears the power gay partners have, and it should,” said Mo Mills, who works at a Starbucks store in Richmond Heights, Missouri, in a statement provided by the union.

The union called the strike a change to Pride’s decoration policy, which it claimed needed negotiations, as well as the company’s widespread response to the organizing drive, including widespread retaliation against union supporters. The union said in a statement that workers “demand that Starbucks sign fair contracts with union stores and end its illegal union-busting campaign.”

The company has consistently denied the illegality accusations.

Starbucks employees who work in many stores across the country said this month they had been told that, unlike in previous years, they would not be allowed to decorate their annual LGBTQ celebration, including the rainbow flag, this year. In interviews arranged through unions, workers said the reasons varied.

Starbucks, which has about 9,300 corporate-owned stores in the United States, said decoration policies are often unique to each store. A Starbucks representative said Friday that there was “no change to the company’s policy on this matter,” accusing unions of spreading false information.

Starbucks workers and unions have said that since the unionization movement began in 2021, the company has used dress codes, items workers can display in stores, and other employee restrictions as a means of intimidation and retaliation against employees. It says it is more aggressively enforcing rules governing conduct. Supporters of trade unions.

“They are trying to make people feel unwelcome in every possible way, including through stricter dress codes,” union spokeswoman Casey Moore said. “Pride decoration is another level of that.”

In a comprehensive judgment in March, a federal administrative law judge found that Starbucks had repeatedly violated labor laws by “enforcing stricter dress and grooming policies in response to union activity.” The judge also found that the company had enforced more stringently its policies regarding attendance and in-store solicitation and distribution of notices.

Starbucks disputes the findings of the investigation and is appealing the decision to the National Labor Relations Commission in Washington.

Unionized Starbucks workers have gone on strike in waves in recent months, citing the company’s delaying tactics at bargaining tables and other anti-union tactics such as retaliatory layoffs and store closures. ing. An administrative judge’s ruling in March also found that Starbucks illegally fired seven Buffalo-area employees last year in response to union activity.

In April the Labor Relations Commission made a complaint The company has accused more than 100 stores of failing to negotiate in good faith. It was one of dozens of complaints related to labor law violations issued by the board since the union first filed a petition seeking votes at three Buffalo-area stores in August 2021. rice field.

The company denies the accusations, blaming unions for delays in negotiations, citing the union’s insistence on using video chat software to relay sessions to employees who aren’t present. .

Shortly after resigning as Starbucks chief executive in March, Howard Schultz denied allegations of anti-union conduct in testimony before a Senate committee.

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