Starbucks Workers Walk Out On Company’s Biggest Sales Event Of The Year

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Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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Starbucks workers across the United States walked out Thursday during a major company sales event, demanding improvement in scheduling and staffing.

Red Cup Day is an annual event where Starbucks locations hand out free reusable red cups to their customers along with their purchase, according to Reuters. “Red Cup Day (November 16th) is Starbucks’s biggest sales event of the season – and also one of the most infamously hard, understaffed days for the baristas that work them,” the Starbucks workers union says on its website.

Workers picketed outside Starbucks’ Astor Place location at New York University’s (NYU) campus, Reuters reported. The baristas were heard chanting, “No contract, no coffee!” while NYU students and staff continued to enter the store.

Astor Place barista Mary Boca told the outlet she was seeking more staff and higher pay at the coffee shop. She said her location doesn’t allow customers to tip baristas, so she allegedly loses out on about $100 each paycheck as a result. (RELATED: Employees To Strike At 150 Starbucks Stores Over Removal Of Pride Decor, Union Says)

“I have heard our managers saying they need to hire 12 people. At a peak period, that’s a lot of people to be out of,” Boca told Reuters.

“It’s degrading and embarrassing to work in stores that are so short staffed on promotional days that we give customers poor service,” Moe Mills, a Starbucks employee in St. Louis, told ABC News. “When customers spend $10 or $12 on a drink, they shouldn’t have to wait 45 minutes or get a lukewarm drink when it should be hot.”

Starbucks baristas in Madison, Wisconsin, walked out Wednesday, marking the start of a two-day strike over the company’s alleged lack of bargaining, according to WKOW News.

“We are aware that Workers United has publicized a day of action at a small subset of our U.S. stores this week. We remain committed to working with all partners, side-by-side, to elevate the everyday, and we hope that Workers United’s priorities will shift to include the shared success of our partners and working to negotiate union contracts for those they represent,” a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement to ABC.

The spokesperson said representatives from Starbucks had contacted the union about bargaining and had not heard back, ABC reported. “Despite escalating rhetoric and recurring rallies demanding contracts, Workers United hasn’t agreed to meet to progress contract bargaining in more than four months,” the spokesperson continued.

Starbucks workers organized a one-day walkout on Red Cup Day 2022 due to the same complaints about underpaid staff and inconsistent schedules, per a separate article from Reuters.

The Starbucks Workers United Twitter account has shared numerous videos of people walking out and supporting the protests from major U.S. cities, such as San Antonio, Tucson, Chicago and more.