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Red Cup Rebellion: Starbucks workers stage walkout at over 200 stores

The workers strike coincides with the company's Red Cup Day promotion, which is often its highest sales day of the year.
Red Cup Rebellion: Starbucks workers stage walkout at over 200 stores
Posted at 11:02 AM, Nov 16, 2023

Starbucks workers at more than 200 locations across the United States are staging a one-day walkout Thursday on what is typically the company's busiest day of the year.

In what is being dubbed the "Red Cup Rebellion," the one-day walkout coincides with Starbucks' annual Red Cup Day tradition, when customers receive a reusable holiday-themed red cup with all seasonal drink orders. It's the company's largest promotion of the year and led to its highest sales day in 2022.

However, some Starbucks workers this year are walking off the job as part of a yearslong effort to unionize the company's stores. The Workers United union said it is expecting more than 5,000 workers to participate in the walkout. 

Starbucks employs more than 400,000 workers at its 16,000 U.S. stores.

SEE MORE: Starbucks is raising barista wages by at least 3% starting next year

The strike marks the fifth major labor action led by employees since a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, became the first in company history to unionize in 2021. Since then, more than 360 Starbucks stores across 41 states have voted to unionize. 

However, the company opposes any efforts by employees to unionize and has failed to reach a labor agreement with any of the stores that have. Starbucks noted that it is currently in negotiations with the Teamsters union, which helped organize one Pittsburgh-area store in 2022.

Starbucks announced earlier this month that it's raising employee pay in 2024 by at least 3%, but many unionized workers say they won't see that wage hike because they've failed to reach a labor agreement with the company. As of now, employees at the Seattle-based coffee chain's U.S. stores make between $15 and $24 an hour.

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