Starbucks workers strike at 2 Kansas City-area stores

(NEXSTAR) – Starbucks employees at more than 110 locations in the United States plan to strike or walk out on Thursday to protest working conditions, pay, and company actions that spur unionization efforts, according to a labor group representing thousands of Starbucks employees.

The walkouts are being called “the largest coordinated national action taken by unionized Starbucks stores in the history of the campaign,” with dozens of unionized locations among those where employees will be picketing, per a press release from Starbucks Workers United.

The walkouts also coincide with Red Cup of the DayA holiday-based promotion during which Starbucks provides red refill cups to customers who make qualifying purchases.

In protest, workers in stores who are on strike or are planning walkouts will hold their own “Red Cup Rebellion,” as they call it, to send a message to the company about its stance on benefits and unionization.

“You can’t be pro-LGTBQ, pro-BLM, pro-sustainability, and anti-union. This Red Cup Day, we’re organizing for a voice at work and a rightful seat at the table,” said Michelle Eisen, a Starbucks employee from Buffalo, New York , in a press release.

More than 110 stores are expected to join the walkout, Starbucks Workers United said, including coffee shops nationwide at least 25 statesamong them:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • play
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • new York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • vomit
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

According to the map, a Starbucks location in Overland Park, Kansas, and another in Independence, Missouri, are participating in the strike.

Workers at some Starbucks locations in those states plan to walk out only during select or peak hours, while others may be planning all-day pickets, materials from Starbucks Workers United suggest.

Workers who have been picketing outside the site also plan to donate their own branded mugs in support of the union’s efforts.

Starbucks workers are seen at a rally in October 2022, in Staten Island, New York. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

In a statement shared with Nexstar on Thursday, a Starbucks spokesperson said the company is “aware” of the employee demonstrations, and that Starbucks “respects[s] their right to engage in halal protest activities – although our focus has been, and continues to be, on uplifting the Starbucks experience for our partners and customers.

“We remain committed to all partners and will continue to work together, side by side, to make Starbucks a company that works for everyone,” the statement continued. “In stores where partners have elected union representatives, we are willing and continue to urge the union to meet us at the bargaining table to move the process forward in good faith.

Starbucks has previously said it opposes unionization efforts, saying the company works best when it works directly with employees, the Associated Press reported. Starbucks has also refused to use union-busting tactics, despite accusations of firing pro-union employees or closing stores that have voted to unionize.

At least 257 Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since late last year, according to the National Labor Relations Board. Starbucks and Workers United have held contract talks at 53 stores, with 13 additional sessions scheduled, Starbucks Workers United confirmed with the AP. There is no agreement so far.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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