Starbucks vs Workers United: Wrangle over Pride month decor
The union claimed that the company’s corporate management has been asking its workers to take down LGBTQIA+ Pride decorations across the United States
Starbucks on Wednesday, June 14, denied and rebutted allegations made by Starbucks Workers United, where the union claimed that the multinational corporation had banned Pride Month decorations across its stores in the United States.
The union on Tuesday, June 13, claimed that the company’s corporate management had been asking its workers in at least 21 states to take down LGBTQIA+ Pride decorations over the last two weeks.
In Massachusetts, they claimed, the company had prevented workers from putting up decorations as "there weren't enough labour hours". Similarly, in Oklahoma, Starbucks allegedly told workers that "it was a safety concern to block windows with flags." In Madison, a video went viral of management taking down Pride decorations.
Refuting the workers' claims, Starbucks said that it remains in complete support of the queer community and extends its solidarity with Pride Month. "We unwaveringly support the LGBTQIA2+ community. 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," Andrew Trull, a spokesperson for the company, said in a statement.
Highlighting the "commitments and actions" the company has taken to support the community during the past 40 years, Trull added: "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 US Pride month in June."
However, following the coffee giant's instant denial, the union stepped up its attack and posted various tweets and real-life accounts supporting their allegations.
Moreover, the union published a lengthy statement citing several examples, attempting to prove the veracity of its claims. "Despite Starbucks claiming that there has been no policy change, workers across the country are speaking out and proving otherwise. This is a clear continuation of Starbucks' anti-union campaign to intimidate workers and make them feel unwelcome in their own workplace. The Starbucks Workers United movement is largely led by LGBTQ+ partners, and this is Starbucks' latest attempt to silence them," read the statement.
Starbucks Workers United is an independent workers' union consisting of over 41,000 partners across 325 stores in the US.
"If we organise, we will not only raise our own standards of living, but we will set an example of what worker power can do in this industry that will empower workers in other cafes and restaurants to advocate for themselves by organising," said an union representative.
Pride Month, observed annually in the month of June, is a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community and also an occasion to acknowledge the community's history, including its various trials and tribulations both past and present .