Starbucks workers picket outside unionized US stores on ‘Red Cup Day’

Starbucks employees went on strike on Thursday at unionized stores nationally, citing what they believe is the company’s refusal to bargain in good faith.

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The walkouts coincided with Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day, with workers calling their action “the Red Cup Rebellion,” The New York Times reported. On Red Cup Day, the company gives customers who order a holiday drink a free reusable cup, according to The Associated Press. The cups are collector’s items.

Striking workers said they would distribute cups with union logos to customers, according to the Times.

Members of the Starbucks Workers Union picketed outside more than 100 stores nationwide in what they said is the group’s largest single-day strike, NPR reported.

“This is to show them we’re not playing around,” Tyler Keeling, 26, who has worked at a Starbucks in Lakewood, California for the last six years, told CNN. “We’re done with their anti-union retaliation and them walking away from bargaining.”

Workers said they are seeking better pay, more consistent schedules and more staffing in busy stores, according to the AP.

“Starbucks has left behind the very values that drew many of us to the company in the first place,” Michelle Eisen, a worker who helped organize the first stores to unionize, said in a statement, according to the Times. “You cannot be pro-LGTBQ, pro-BLM, pro-sustainability, and anti-union. This Red Cup Day, we’re organizing for a voice on the job and a true seat at the table.”

Starbucks officials said they respected the employees’ right to lawfully protest, according to the AP.

“We remain committed to all partners and will continue to work together, side-by-side, to make Starbucks a company that works for everyone,” Starbucks said in a statement on Thursday.