Starbucks workers at more than 100 US stores plan to walk off the job Thursday in a labor action during one of the coffee giant's busiest days of the year, WaPo reported.
More than 2,000 members of the Starbucks Workers Union (SWU) in 25 states, covering 112 stores across the country, will be participating in what is called the "Red Cup Rebellion."
The strike coincides with Starbucks' annual Red Cup Day when free reusable cups are given to customers who purchase holiday drinks. Workers have said this day is one of the busiest of the year.
In an Instagram post, SWU said:
"Starbucks Workers United is conducting a nationwide ULP Strike over the company's refusal to bargain in good faith. Workers across this campaign are also calling for the company to fully staff our union stores, because we know that Short Staffing = Venti Wait Times. Starbucks thinks they can drag their feet in bargaining, and we're here to show them we rebel against their tactics and we mean business – by shutting down theirs."
SWU represents approximately 7,000 employees at hundreds of stores, but that's only a tiny fraction compared to the chain's 70,000 workforce.
"We unionized to fix a lot of problems with a job we really like," Josie Serrano, a barista in Long Beach, Calif., told WaPo.
Workers seek higher pay, better working conditions, more consistent schedules, and higher staffing levels.
According to union leaders, Starbucks has countered the unionization effort by shuttering some stores.
Serrano continued: "It's frustrating that the company that hired us doesn't want to work to find a happy medium. … We want to send a strong signal to the company that, 'Hey, this is not something we're playing around with anymore.'"
Here's a map of stores on strike.
"This is the first time unionized baristas have banded together across the country to disrupt Starbucks's operations," WaPo said.
Workers from one store in Buffalo, New York, were the first to unionize about one year ago. Momentum has spread nationwide (read: here & here) this year as more than 300 stores in three dozen states have had union elections. Unionized stores only make up 3% of the 9,000 company-operated US stores.