From today’s Reuters News Service:
Workers at dozens of U.S. Starbucks locations held strikes on Sunday to express their outrage over accusations by the baristas’ union that managers at several U.S. cafes removed rainbow flags and decorations supporting LGBTQ+ Pride month.
About a dozen Starbucks workers picketed outside New York’s Astor Place location in lower Manhattan on Sunday afternoon near the route of the city’s Pride parade, chanting: “New York is a union town! On strike! Shut it down!”
Union members handed out flyers and talked to passersby about the action, while several customers chose not to enter in support of the strike.
With Pride marches underway in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Starbucks’ hometown Seattle, some baristas and other workers at the coffee chain said they were angered by the dispute.
A spokesperson said on Sunday that “we unwaveringly support the LGBTQIA2+ community. It would be inaccurate to report that Starbucks stores are banning any decorations as there has been no change to company policy on this matter.”
“We remain deeply concerned by false information being spread about our inclusive store environments, our company culture and the benefits we offer our partners,” the spokesperson said.
Though the conflict is gaining attention now, it began brewing a year ago, when the Workers United union said the company threatened union organizers – many of whom say they are queer or trans – with reduced hours that would leave them unable to qualify for health insurance, which covers gender reassignment surgery and other affirming procedures.
Starbucks has denied that it changed the coverage, calling the accusations “false claims” in a June 14 letter to Workers United International President Lynne Fox and seen by Reuters.
Read the complete story here.