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Local Starbucks Workers Hold Red Cup Rebellion to Highlight Concerns

Baristas at some Starbucks were seeing ‘red’ Thursday, but not because it was Red Cup Day. That’s the day Starbucks introduces its limited- edition, holiday coffee cups.

Instead, some doors were closed, and union protesters were outside handing out cups of their own: red, cups featuring a grinch-like hand holding their union logo.

It’s the latest dispute between Starbucks Corporation and the Union. Lindal Hazen, is the shift supervisor and Union Organizer at the Pickard Street store in Mount Pleasant. She says workers are on the picket line because they feel like they aren’t being heard.

“Over a hundred fifty stores have been unionized and some of them for almost a full year. And Because Starbucks is refusing to acknowledge us and bargain with us that’s why we’re here.”

In a written statement Starbucks said they “are aware the union demonstrations are scheduled” and that they “respect their right to engage in peaceful protest.”

Hazen also criticized working conditions saying expectations for the workers are unreasonable.

“We have all these different channels of mobile orders, drive thru, people coming into café, big orders we’ll get, we’re understaffed but they don’t want to do anything to support us,” Hazen said.

Starbucks Corporation, who did not make themselves available for comment, said they “continue to urge the union to meet” at the bargaining table.

But Hazen says the union has been to the table and Starbucks officials refuse to sit down.

“Last year, our CEO got a forty- five-million-dollar bonus, after our raises were pushed back because that’s what they value.”

Hazen also says workers will be back serving beverages, but she says the union is not going away.

Tina Sawyer is the local host of Morning Edition on WCMU. She joined WCMU in November, 2022.