Updated Nov 16, 2023 - Economy

Starbucks workers strike at 200 union stores on Red Cup Day

Starbucks red reusable cup with white lid in forefront being held by employee wearing red apron and black long sleeve shirt.

Starbucks Red Cup Day 2023 is Thursday, Nov. 16. Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks

Thousands of Starbucks workers from around 200 unionized stores will go on strike Thursday during the coffee giant's Red Cup Day.

Why it matters: The 2022 holiday cup giveaway was the coffee giant's highest single sales day of all time despite a strike at more than 100 stores.

  • The Starbucks walkouts come after several big strikes recently yielded positive results for workers, Axios' Emily Peck reports.

The latest: Nonunion Starbucks workers in New York City filed 15 complaints Thursday against the company for allegedly violating New York's Fair Work Week law, according to a statement Starbucks Workers United sent to Axios.

  • "We make every effort and have invested significant resources to ensure partner scheduling practices are in alignment with New York City's Fair Workweek Law," Starbucks told CNBC in a statement.

Starbucks strike 2023

What's happening: Starbucks Workers United said in a news release that it's waging the company's largest strike Thursday. Baristas from 30 stores in cities including Philadelphia and Chicago kicked off surprise walkouts Wednesday that would continue through Thursday, the union said.

  • The union, which represents more than 360 unionized stores and more than 9,000 Starbucks employees, says it is demanding the company bargain on issues including staffing and scheduling.
  • The Teamers Union is also supporting the movement.

What they're saying: Starbucks said in a statement to Axios that it expects "customers interested in our reusable red cup will be able to participate in the giveaway, as planned" and that the union's day of action is at a "small subset of our U.S. stores."

  • Customers can use the Starbucks app or store locator to find an open store, Starbucks said.
  • "Despite escalating rhetoric and recurring rallies demanding a contract, Workers United hasn't agreed to meet to progress contract bargaining in more than four months," the company said in its statement.

How to get free Starbucks Red Cup Thursday

Details: Order any size handcrafted holiday drink or fall beverage Thursday, Nov. 16 to get a free reusable cup.

  • The free cup will be included for orders placed in stores, at the drive-thru, on the Starbucks app and Starbucks delivery on DoorDash or Uber Eats.

Red Cup Day drinks include holiday beverages

Qualifying drinks for Thursday's free cup giveaway are:

  • Lattes: Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Gingerbread Latte, Oleato Gingerbread Oatmilk Latte and Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte.
  • Hot chocolates: Hot Chocolate, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Peppermint White Hot Chocolate and White Hot Chocolate.
  • More winter drinks: Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai and Peppermint Mocha.
  • Fall drinks: Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato, Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Editor's note: This story was updated with news that Starbucks workers in New York City filed labor complaints against the company.

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