Starbucks is trending right now, and many thought it was because of another recipe leak. But it turns out it’s not the case.
Instead, people, including employees and customers, are boycotting Starbucks on their Red Cup day. In fact, if this strike becomes successful, it will be the biggest Starbucks strike in decades.
But why is this boycott even happening?
More than 2000 Starbucks employees in 112 stores are striking on Thursday, November 16, 2023, the Red Cup day. They are protesting for a fair labor deal, and the company suing the Starbucks Workers United union over a tweet supporting Palestine.
Why Is Starbucks Being Boycotted? Who Is Boycotting Them?
CNN reported that on Thursday, November 16, 2023, upwards of 2000 employees in 112 Starbucks locations planned a full-day strike. The union has been trying to organize the event since last year.
This protest is happening on the famed Starbucks Red Cup Day. On this day, the Starbucks stores give out reusable red holiday cups with certain drink purchases. Discounts are given out, and buyers even get bonus points for future purchases.
So, the protestors have organized a way of rebelling against the Red Cup Day. They will hand out red Starbucks Workers United Union cups to the customers who come for their drinks.
Having a successful strike also involves having customer participation in it. Many protestors are encouraging customers to refrain from getting coffee on that day or getting their drinks from another shop.
Previously, multiple stores had staged short strikes over specific issues. But this is a nationwide strike and the first one of its kind.
This strike is taking place as a protest against multiple things. But primarily, it is to protest against Starbucks’ refusal to bargain with the union regarding a labor deal. 264 stores have voted favorably for union representation.
Till now, absolutely nothing has been negotiated in terms of a contract. But this isn’t the only reason for a boycott.
Many are also not buying anything from Starbucks and opting for drinks from their local coffee shops because of the company’s alleged support for the Israeli Defense Force.
How Did Starbucks Retaliate Against Its Unions?
Starbucks sued Starbucks Workers United, a union of 9000 workers when the labor organization posted a message expressing solidarity with Palestinians. The message has now been deleted.
But that didn’t stop the organization from expressing its support again. Also, the union has counter-filed against Starbucks, claiming that the company was trying to damage their organizing efforts.
Sara Kelly, the executive vice president as well as the chief partner officer of Starbucks, said (via Good Morning America):
“We strongly disagree with the views expressed by Workers United, including its local affiliates, union organizers, and those who identify as members of ‘Starbucks Workers United’ — none of these groups speak for Starbucks Coffee Company and do not represent our company’s views, positions, or beliefs.”
Starbucks has also been hostile towards unions and has fired union workers/ supporters before. They justified this by saying:
“Interest in a union does not exempt partners from following policies and procedures that apply to all partners.”
For now, they have been forced to stop their firing because the National Labor Relations Board filed for a national cease and desist order in federal court against this practice.
Due to this, the decision to go on strike hasn’t been easy. Michelle Eisen, one of the organizers of the first Starbucks store to vote for the union in December 2022, said about the strike:
“There’s a lot of fear before a store decides to go on strike. Starbucks has been retaliating against union leaders across the country. But despite that fear, over 2,000 workers across the country are striking today and standing up for one another.”
If this becomes successful, it will be the biggest Starbucks strike in decades.
It’s uncertain how the Starbucks stores will function without the employees.
What do you think of the largest possible strike in Starbucks’ history? Is a Starbucks boycott happening in your area?
Let us know your thoughts about this event in the comments below.