SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Three Starbucks locations in Utah joined a nationwide walkout, which the Starbucks Workers United union is calling the largest Starbucks strike in history.
The Starbucks Workers United union called for the “Red Cup Rebellion,” in solidarity against what they call one of the hardest and most understaffed days. According to the union, Red Cup Day is the company’s largest promotional day, bringing in thousands of customers eager to get a free reusable red cup. The union has also expressed disdain for what they say is a growing amount of promotional days to bring in customers without suitably increasing staff.
Utah has three stores that have officially unionized. A store in Cottonwood Heights was the first to unionize in June 2022. A Starbucks in Salt Lake City followed shortly after. Finally, the Starbucks location in Bountiful unanimously passed their vote to unionize.
The locations in Salt Lake City and in Bountiful have walked out in support of the union strike, disrupting Starbucks’ red cup giveaway.
“It gets really intense. We have very high numbers that day, we never get staff extra staff, and gets really hard on the workers,” Utah Starbucks employee Denelle Durling told ABC4. “We also have a lot of issues with under-scheduling in general. Lots of cutting hours – we are all struggling to get enough hours to pay the bills.”
Durling said the issues the workers are facing at Starbucks have been a continual problem. She said while there will be days when Starbucks provides plenty of hours and staffing, there are other days with drastic cuts that leave workers who have families struggling.
Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trull told ABC4 the company was aware of the strike affecting a “small subset” of stores across the United States, including Utah. Trull said Starbucks remains committed to working with its partners but called on the Workers United to “fulfill their obligations.”
“Despite escalating rhetoric and recurring rallies demanding a contract, Workers United hasn’t agreed to meet to progress contract bargaining in more than five months,” said Trull. “As we join together to uplift the holiday season and reflect on the past year, we again call on Workers to fulfill their obligations and engage in the work of negotiating first contracts on behalf of the partners they represent.”
Durling said that Starbucks doesn’t treat the union like partners and that the company had been delaying contract negotiations and “trying their hardest” not to negotiate. Trull told ABC4 the company is ready to progress with in-person negotiations with the Starbucks Workers Union.
In the meantime, Durling is asking the public to “support the union but don’t support Starbucks.”
Supporters can sign a “No Contract, No Coffee” pledge, vowing to avoid Starbucks products while the union does not have a fair contract in place.