Starbucks strike: Union says workers at over 150 stores to protest over alleged Pride decor bans

Union leaders say Starbucks workers at over 150 stores across the country will go on strike after claims that the company banned Pride decorations in some stores.

The Starbucks Workers United union said 3,500 workers from over 150 stores will strike over the course of next week, and is demanding that all stores be allowed to put up Pride decorations in support of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as recognize a union contract.

The union has alleged that Starbucks did not allow some U.S. stores to decorate for Pride Month or asked some stores to take down existing decorations, as other companies, including Target and Bud Light, received recent backlash from consumers for supporting Pride Month, LGBTQ+ issues and influencers.

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Starbucks denies union's claims about Pride decorations

Starbucks has denied issuing any policies or guidance to stores to take down Pride Month decorations. In a statement, the coffee company accused the union of spreading false information and said it continues to "encourage our store leaders to celebrate the diversity of our partners and customers within their communities, including for Pride Month."

It added that customers can see how more than 9,300 U.S. stores are celebrating Pride Month, including by buying custom Pride merchandise, designed in collaboration with an LGBTQ+ artist.

The More Perfect Union, a media organization that promotes coverage of labor movements, reported a store manager in Oklahoma City told unionized baristas that a decision was made on a regional level last year "to create consistency from store to store," and instructed a shift supervisor to throw out Pride decorations from 2022.

A union leader told More Perfect Union that the Regional Director of Operations for Area 120, which includes the Oklahoma City store, said in a phone call Pride decorations for 2023 were canceled after "consulting with upper leadership."

The company sent an internal memo to store managers dated June 14, saying it was "deeply concerned" about the accusations it was banning Pride decorations in stores, adding that there was no change in guidance on Pride Month decorations.

In the memo, Starbucks called the allegations "false information" and "simply not true."