NEW YORK -- Workers at about 150 unionized Starbucks stores in the United States are going on strike Friday over the coffee chain's policy for Pride decorations in stores.
Starbucks (SBUX) Workers United, the union representing organized stores, has claimed that Starbucks (SBUX) has restricted decorations celebrating Pride month in some locations, demonstrating a "hypocritical treatment of LGBTQIA+ workers." Starbucks (SBUX) has forcefully denied this claim.
About 3,500 employees "will be on strike over the course of the next week," Starbucks Workers United posted in a tweet
Store leaders are able to decorate stores as they wish for Pride and other heritage months, as long as those decorations adhere to safety guidelines, according to the company. Starbucks said it is not aware of any company-owned stores that have banned Pride decorations.
The company also pointed out that many stores have shared their Pride decorations on social media.
"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 US Pride month in June," a Starbucks spokesperson said, adding, "We're deeply concerned by false information that is being spread."
However, the union responded on Twitter that the company's "own responses have not been consistent" based on internal documents and testimonies from store managers.
"Starbucks gives autonomy to local leaders to 'find ways to celebrate.' These leaders are the same ones issuing many of the Pride bans," it said pointing to an article that Pride decor was banned from about 100 locations across parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri.
Starbucks Workers United says this is an example of Starbucks bowing to pressure, as Target did when moving or removing Pride merchandise from some stores. Pride has become a political flashpoint this year, with the right attacking companies for celebrating the inclusive celebrations.
But, even if some individual managers have removed their Pride decorations, Starbucks corporate has not changed any merchandising or other policies.
& 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.