Starbucks workers at hundreds of US stores walk out on Red Cup day

  • November 17, 2023

Nov 16 (Reuters) – Workers at hundreds of Starbucks ( SBUX.O ) stores walked off the job during a key promotional event on Thursday, demanding better staffing and systems, Workers United said on social media platform X.

The walkout comes on the heels of the coffee chain’s Red Cup Day event, where Starbucks is giving away free red, reusable, holiday-themed cups to customers with their coffee purchase.

Starbucks said on Thursday its stores in the United States were “open”, adding that “a few stores with some partners (were) on strike”, but more than half of those stores were open this morning, “serving customers”.

About a dozen workers picketed outside Starbucks’ Astor Place store on the New York University campus chanting “no contract, no coffee” and other chants. Meanwhile, Astor Place continued to fill NYU staff and students placing orders.

Red Cup Day has typically been a major driver of store traffic, with Placer.ai data showing that visits to US Starbucks stores on the day last year jumped 94% over the daily average for a full year.

Workers United, which represents more than 9,000 Starbucks workers at some 360 ​​US stores, said the event was one of the “toughest, most understaffed days ever”, as drink orders piled up and workers became frustrated. customers with long waiting times.

Mary Boca, 22, an Astor Place, New York barista, said she wants to see higher wages and more workers at Starbucks.

“I heard our managers say that they need to hire 12 people. In a critical time, there are many people who have to go out.”

Boca said his Starbucks location doesn’t allow customers to get rich, leaving him without an extra $100 in each check.

Edwin Palma Solis, 24, who works at Astor Place, said that he thinks that the inability of customers to shop at the store has prevented unemployed people from joining the place.

Starbucks has nearly 10,000 company-owned locations in the US, and according to the company less than 3% of those stores are unionized.

Last year, workers at more than 100 US-owned Starbucks locations held a one-day strike on Red Cup Day.

Earlier this month, Starbucks said it would raise hourly wages for its US retail workers by at least 3% starting in 2024, which workers criticized as “tone deaf” given Starbucks’ 11% increase in the fourth quarter and rising of recent wages. won by car crews.

Reporting by Granth Vanaik in Bengaluru and Ariana McLymore in New York City; Edited by Shinjini Ganguli

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Granth reports on the North American consumer and consumer sector, which includes a wide range of companies from consumer packaged goods and restaurants to supermarkets and apparel retailers. Granth’s work on the website often appears on the Retail & Consumer page of the Reuters Business section. He holds a post-graduate degree in international relations and area studies and has worked as a research analyst.

Ariana McLymore is a New York-based journalist covering e-commerce, online marketplaces, alternative monetization for retailers and in-store innovation. He previously reported on telephone and legal business.