Starbucks Employees Strike Over LGBT Pride Decorations

More than three thousand Starbucks employees spanning more than 150 stores announced their intention to strike over allegations that the coffee giant removed a number of LGBT pride decorations.

Members of the union Workers United announced a strike slated to start Friday. The group called for employees to “STRIKE WITH PRIDE!”

The planned strike is intended to last for a week.

However, the company denies that any policy change took place. 

“We unwaveringly support the LGBTQIA2+ community,” it said last week.

“There has been no change to any policy on this matter and we continue to encourage our store leaders to celebrate with their communities including for U.S. Pride Month in June,” a spokesperson said.

Starbucks said that the union “continues to spread false information about our benefits, policies and negotiation efforts, a tactic used to seemingly divide our partners and deflect from their failure to respond to bargaining sessions for more than 200 stores.”

The union implied that the alleged restraining of LGBT Pride decorations is coming from individual stores. 

According to the union, the company “autonomy to local leaders to ‘find ways to celebrate.’ These leaders are the same ones issuing many of the Pride bans.” 

It referenced specific cases of such decorations being “banned” in locations in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri.

Furthermore, the union previously cited several disagreements regarding the policy. In one case, employees in Massachusetts were allegedly told that there was not enough time to decorate the stores with LGBT messages. Furthermore, some Oklahoma employees were reportedly told not to “block windows with flags” over security concerns.

Starbucks apologized to customers “who may experience an inconvenience at these locations and encourage[d] customers to find any of our more than 9,000 stores open nearby using our store locator available online or through the Starbucks mobile app.”

The union did not reference a reported recent decision by the Starbucks corporate office, among other major companies, to pull back from “green and social initiatives.”

Starbucks and other major companies reduced their environmental, social and governance (ESG) and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) spending by almost a third earlier this year.