Starbucks Employees Say No To ‘Red Cup Day’

Starbucks employees nationwide will be on strike on Thursday, which takes place on the company’s Red Cup Day.

Called the “Red Cup Rebellion,” the Pittsburgh chapter stated that they demand Starbucks stop refusing to negotiate with baristas over issues such as scheduling and staffing, which the group says is illegal.

They also want the coffee giant to turn off mobile ordering on future promotion days, which they say the company does more frequently now.

The Workers United Union chose Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day to stage the walkout because it is usually one of the busiest days of the year for staff.

Red Cup Day is the day that Starbucks gives out free reusable cups, which attracts many customers to the chain nationwide.

The union expects over 5,000 workers to take part in the rebellion. Around 30 stores staged walkouts on Wednesday.

Neha Cremin, a Starbucks barista in Oklahoma City, had similar reasons for walking out that her colleagues in Pittsburgh expressed.

“Understaffing hurts workers and also creates an unpleasant experience for customers,” said Cremin. “Starbucks has made it clear that they won’t listen to workers, so we’re advocating for ourselves by going on strike.”

In Astor Place, New York, Starbucks barista Mary Boca stated that she would also like to see more staff employed and receive higher wages. Her location does not allow customers to tip, leaving her without $100 extra in each paycheck.

Many took to social media to stand in solidarity with the workers.

In the past, the strikes have had little impact on Starbucks’ sales. For its 2023 fiscal year, which ended October 1, the company reported a 12% increase, which totaled a record $36.0 billion.

Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Tull wrote in an email to the Telegram & Gazette that Workers United did not agree to meet to discuss contract bargaining in over four months.

“As we join together to uplift the holiday season and reflect on the past year, we again call on Workers United to … engage in the work of negotiating first contracts on behalf of the partners they represent,” the statement said. “We remain committed to working with all partners … and we hope that Workers United’s priorities will shift to include the shared success of our partners and working to negotiate contracts for those they represent.”