Thousands of employees from over 200 Starbucks outlets across the US walked out on one of the chain’s busiest days. On Red Cup Day, the chain was offering reusable cups to customers in exchange for holiday drink orders, so naturally the crowds were bigger at the stores.
The walkouts on 16 November 2023 were part of the Workers United union’s efforts to unionise the Starbucks outlets.
This was probably the largest strike in the last two years since the unionisation campaign began.
The ‘Red Cup Rebellion’ may have seen participation from over 5,000 workers. Walkouts were staged in about 30 outlets on 15 November too.
Employees are disappointed that the coffee chain is not fulfilling the promises made to them.
Such promotional days where customers are offered reusable cups or one coffee free with another result in a lot of workload and pressure on the staff. Even on such rush days, the staff members are not allowed to ignore mobile orders or make any changes to the processes to somehow manage the work pressure. The outlets are not adequately staffed to handle the extra work pressure and employees are frustrated that they are not paid for all that excess work they are required to put in on the offer days.
The outlets that have voted in favour of unionisation have not yet reached the bargaining table with the Starbucks management.
Since 2021 when the first Starbucks outlet unionised in Buffalo, over 363 stores have voted in favour of unionisation.