Workers at more than 150 Starbucks locations across the United States are planning to go on strike as the coffee chain and a union representing baristas clash over displays supporting LBGTQ causes in stores during Pride month.
Starbucks Workers United said in a tweet Friday that 3,500 workers will be on strike over the next week. Starbucks has consistently denied claims by union organizers that it was banning Pride displays in its U.S. stores after brands like Disney, Target and Bud Light suffered a related backlash and negative social media campaigns in some parts of the country.
STRIKE WITH PRIDE! Seattle Roastery leads nationwide Starbucks strike over Starbucks’ hypocritical treatment of LGBTQIA+ workers. Over 150+ stores and 3,500 workers will be on strike over the course of the next week.
Even brands like Chick-fil-A, which closes on 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 that store managers around the country have curtailed or removed displays during a monthlong celebration of LGBTQ people.
In some cases, the union said, managers told workers that Pride displays were a safety concern, citing recent incidents at Target where some angry customers tipped over merchandise and confronted workers. Starbucks said last week that there had been no change to any policy on the matter and that its support is “unwavering.”
A spokesperson with the United Steel Workers, which represents a handful of unionized locations in Canada, told CBC News in a statement it is unaware of any similar actions in Canada because none of their members have reported locations removing Pride-related signage.
The company has been outspoken in its support for LGBTQ+ employees for decades. It extended full health benefits to same-sex partners in 1988 and added health coverage for gender reassignment surgery in 2013.
Starbucks Corp. is also currently selling Pride-themed tumblers in its stores designed by Toronto artist Tim Singleton. A request for comment from Singleton by CBC News on Friday was not immediately returned.
Starbucks, based in Seattle, did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday.