On November 16th, Starbucks SBUX, +0.41% is set to celebrate Red Cup Day, a highly anticipated event for coffee lovers everywhere. On this day, Starbucks releases its coveted free, reusable red holiday cups. This year, customers who order a holiday beverage at a participating store on Red Cup Day will receive one of these collectible cups. Whether customers choose to order in-store, via the Starbucks app, or through delivery on Doordash or Uber Eats, they can indulge in the joy of the festive season.
However, amidst all the excitement, Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) has a different agenda. For the second consecutive year, they plan to disrupt the annual holiday-cup giveaway. Their goal is to raise awareness for their unionization effort and draw attention to what they perceive as unfair labor practices within the company.
The SBWU has voiced its concerns on its website, stating that Red Cup Day is not only Starbucks’ biggest sales event of the season but also notorious for being one of the most challenging days for baristas due to understaffing. The organization is calling on all Starbucks baristas and shift supervisors to join forces in what they have named the “Red Cup Rebellion.” By walking out alongside thousands of SBWU baristas, they aim to protest against Starbucks’ alleged unfair labor practices.
So, as customers eagerly anticipate their festive beverages served in vibrant red cups, they will also witness the striking visual of baristas standing united and advocating for their rights. The clash between the joyful atmosphere and the call for change creates a unique and thought-provoking spectacle that encapsulates the essence of Red Cup Day this year.
The Red Cup Rebellion: Uniting Starbucks Workers
This year, the Red Cup Rebellion aims to take a stand by inviting customers to join them on the picket line. Backed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the movement has garnered support from Joint Councils and local unions all over the nation. Their message is clear: Starbucks Workers United need solidarity.
Starbucks, at present, has yet to respond to the growing concerns.
Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) has made their demands public on their official website. These demands include putting an end to alleged union-busting activities and obstructing union-organizing efforts. Furthermore, they seek to address labor issues such as understaffing and workplace safety. Last but not least, SBWU advocates for a minimum hourly wage of $20 with annual raises of 5% and cost-of-living adjustments.
The Red Cup Rebellion emerges during what has been referred to as the “Hot Labor Summer.” Workers from various industries, ranging from Hollywood writers and actors to hotel staff, teachers, healthcare professionals, and fast-food employees, have been going on strike to demand better conditions. The frustration stems from stagnant wages while corporations continue to profit. As strikes continue to gain momentum, workers are becoming increasingly inspired by others who successfully unionize or strike.
Actors, writers, hotel housekeepers, and grad-student workers are all striking for the same reason.