Starbucks workers at more than 100 locations across the country are striking and demonstrating Thursday as the coffee company holds its annual Red Cup Day.
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Participating stores in many states are handing out their own union red cups to customers as part of what Starbucks Workers United has dubbed the “Rebellion Red Cup,” according to a union press release provided to FOX Business.
Each year, Starbucks holds its Red Cup Day to celebrate the holidays, giving away free reusable Starbucks cups when you order certain beverages.
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Starbucks Workers United claimed that Starbucks workers are “underpaid, forced to operate perpetually understaffed stores and don’t have consistent schedules to rely on.”
According to the release, they “demand the right to organize unions without intimidation or fear” and accused the company of union busting tactics.
“We are aware that union walkouts are planned at a small number of our U.S. company-owned stores,” a Starbucks spokesperson told FOX Business. “Where partners choose to participate, we respect their right to engage in lawful protest activities, although we have focused and continue to focus on improving the Starbucks experience for our partners and customers.”
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The coffee company reported more than 15,800 stores doing business in the U.S., including company-operated and licensed stores, according to its most recent quarterly filing.
Videos and photos on social media showed people gathered outside some Starbucks stores holding signs with messages.
“We remain committed to all partners and will continue to work together side by side to make Starbucks a company that works for everyone,” added a Starbucks spokesperson. “In those stores where partners have chosen union representation, we have been willing and continue to encourage the union to meet with us at the bargaining table to move the process forward in good faith.”
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Starbucks Workers United called the “Red Cup Rebellion” strike “the largest coordinated national action taken by unionized Starbucks stores in the history of the campaign.”
The coffee shop company faced a growing union effort, with more than 250 stores across the U.S. voting to unionize.