This year’s Starbucks holiday promotion may not be a success. Employees of the coffee chain announced a strike on the day it started. They claim that promotional events, such as Thursday’s, deepen staffing and scheduling problems in the chain’s stores.
Unionized Starbucks workers walked off the job Thursday to press their contract demands and draw attention to their grievances about staffing and scheduling issues. The union representing striking workers, Starbucks Workers United, said thousands of workers at more than 200 locations took part in the strike.
Strike and promotion
The downtime coincides with Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day promotion, during which customers receive bright red reusable cups if they order a holiday-themed drink, such as the Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte.
Starbucks Workers United says events like Red Cup Day force employees to handle more orders than usual, but without enough staff.
Employees are fed up with promotions
Unionized workers say the company has refused to negotiate on staffing and work schedule issues, which are particularly acute on such days, and the union filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board this year.
Starbucks claims the union is preventing negotiation sessions by insisting that meetings be held online, under the supervision of rank-and-file members, rather than inviting bargaining teams to meet in person.
“We hope that Workers United’s priorities will change to include the shared success of our partners and negotiating contracts for those they represent,” spokesman Andrew Trull said in a statement.