More than 3,500 Starbucks employees are going on strike next week, according to a statement released by Starbucks Workers United on Friday morning. The employees are upset with the company’s “hypocritical treatment of LGBTQIA+ workers.”
According to the union, the strikers would be “demanding that Starbucks negotiate a fair contract with union stores and stop their illegal union-busting campaign, which has significantly impacted Starbucks’ LGBTQIA+ workforce.”
The union previously informed Insider that Starbucks management had removed Pride flags and otherwise discouraged employees from celebrating the holiday at their workplace. Similar claims have been made in social media posts.
This followed Bud Light’s controversial promotion in which transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney was featured prominently.
Soon after, in response to threats from anti-LGBTQ extremists, Target announced that it would be removing select items from its Pride Month collection. Some Redditors who claimed to work for Target argued that the company had betrayed the LGBTQ community by taking down the displays.
Workers United released a statement from a shift supervisor in Richmond Heights, Missouri, Moe Mills, who said of Starbucks’ apparent orders to stores not to decorate for Pride, “Their choice to align themselves with other corporations that have withdrawn their’support’ of the queer community in the time we need it most shows that they are not the inclusive company they promote themselves to be.”
According to a Starbucks spokesperson, “no change” has been made to the company’s stance on Pride Month events.
The business stated earlier this month that “our store leaders are each empowered to decorate their stores for heritage months including Pride Month within the framework of our established store safety guidelines.”
They were accused of “knowingly and recklessly spreading false information related to our inclusive culture and benefits.” Workers United denied the allegations.
According to the union’s statement to CNBC, not all of the stores that are going on strike have had disagreements over Pride decorations. For example, barista Mari Cosgrove told the outlet that when the strike begins on Friday at the Seattle roastery, workers will be striking to demonstrate support.
Cosgrove stated, “When these flags are taken down, it feels like an attack.” Store partners value having a place where they can be recognized and feel like they belong. Starbucks has always taken great satisfaction in being a neutral meeting spot, even for its employees.
Insider reached out to Starbucks for comment on the status of the striking outlets after business hours, but did not receive an immediate response.