☕ Starbucks annual Red Cup Day is expected to be Thursday

☕ The workers union, Starbucks Workers United, plans a strike at all stores

☕ Customers are being asked to hold their own show of support

It's the day Starbucks fans wait for every year: the annual Red Cup Day

The coffee chain gives away its limited edition 16-ounce reusable Christmas cup with the purchase of a fall or holiday beverage while supplies last. This year's date has not been announced but based on past dates many believe the day is Thursday.

Starbucks Workers United, the union that represents over 8,000 workers from 360 stores, is betting on the day being Thursday and is calling an unfair labor practice (ULP) strike they're calling the Red Cup Rebellion. The union, which called a similar strike in 2022, believes that stores are "understaffed and overworked" on one of the company's busiest and most profitable days of the year.

The twist this year is that workers at all locations are being asked to participate, not just unionized stores. "Customers and allies" are also invited to take an action.

"In addition to our nationwide ULP strike on the 16th, we’re also asking customers and allies to lead actions at Starbucks stores in their communities in solidarity with workers rising up for a fairer workplace," the union wrote on its website where it has invited supporters to adopt a store.

Starbucks Workers United demands
Starbucks Workers United demands (Canva)

New conflict between the union and coffee chain

The union said in an email the Rebellion is also fueled by resentment towards the company over its newly announced benefit and wage plan. Unionized stores are not eligible for the benefits and are subject to collective bargaining, according to the company.

"Starbucks is withholding these benefits from organizing stores. That’s illegal, and is an example of the Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) we’re going on strike to protest Nov 16," the union wrote in an email to supporters.

Starbucks’ actions go against a September ruling by an administrative law judge for the NLRB, who ruled that the company acted illegally last fall when it raised pay only for non-union workers. Starbucks has appealed that ruling, saying NLRB’s standards don’t allow employers to make unilateral changes in the wages or benefits of unionized employees.

A search of the Starbucks Workers Union website shows participating non-union locations at Princeton University and The Yard at Rutgers University in New Brunswick are participating. Some participating stores may not be on the list for fear of reprisal, according to the union.

Five New Jersey stores are unionized: Hamilton (Mercer), Hopewell, Ledgewood (Roxbury), Montclair and Summit.

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