Workers at 150 Starbucks in the US plan walkout for LBGTQ decor

Workers at more than 150 Starbucks locations across the US plan to go on strike as the coffee chain and a union representing baristas clash over displays supporting LBGTQ causes in stores during the month of pride.

Starbucks Workers United said in a tweet on Friday that 3,500 workers will be on strike next week. Starbucks has consistently denied claims by labor organizers that it was banning Pride displays in its US stores after brands including Disney, Target and Bud Light faced related backlash and negative social media campaigns in parts of the country.

Even brands like Chick-fil-A, which closes Sundays for a day of “rest and worship,” and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store have been targeted online by anti-LBGTQ groups and individuals.

The union that represents baristas, Workers United, says store managers across the country have reduced or eliminated displays during a month-long celebration of LGBTQ people.

In some cases, the union said, officials told workers that Pride displays were a safety issue, citing recent incidents at Target where angry customers knocked over merchandise and confronted workers. Starbucks said last week that there had been no policy change on the matter and that its support was “unwavering.”

A spokesperson for the United Steel Workers, which represents a handful of unionized locations in Canada, told CBC News in a statement that he was not aware of any similar action in Canada, as none of their members reported that locations had removed Pride-related signs.

The company has openly supported LGBTQ+ employees for decades. It extended full health benefits to same-sex partners in 1988 and added health coverage for sex reassignment surgery in 2013.

Starbucks Corp. also currently sells Pride-themed cups in its stores designed by Toronto artist Tim Singleton. A request for comment from Singleton by CBC News on Friday was not immediately returned.

Seattle-based Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning.

Leave a Comment