Starbucks workers across the United States began a three-day strike on Friday as part of their campaign to form a union for the entire coffee chain.
About 1,000 employees at 100 locations planned to walk out, according to Starbucks Workers United, the group that organized the campaign. This will be the longest strike in the unionization campaign going on for a year.
This is the second strike by Starbucks workers in a month. On November 17, workers at 110 locations in the United States walked out for a day. The move coincides with Red Cup Day, in which the company hands out reusable cups to customers who order a special Christmas drink.
About 260 of the company’s 9,000 US locations voted to unionize late last year.
Starbucks opposes unionization, saying that the company works best when it has a direct relationship with its employees. But he says he respects workers’ legitimate right to protest.
Torey Tambellini, a union organizer who was a Starbucks shift supervisor until she was fired in July, said she would hold a sit-in in Pittsburgh over the weekend. He argued that the workers were protesting against staff shortages and the company’s anti-union methods, including closing unionized stores.
Workers United notes that Starbucks recently closed the first location to unionize in Seattle, where the company is headquartered. The company said it has turned it off for security reasons.
Starbucks and the union have begun contract talks at about 50 locations, but no agreement has been reached.
The process has been controversial. According to the US National Labor Relations Board, Workers United has filed 446 charges against Starbucks since last year for both firing union organizers and the company’s refusal to bargain. For its part, the company alleges the union violates bargaining rules by recording sessions and posting them online.
So far, the controversy hasn’t apparently affected sales at Starbucks, which reported in November that revenue rose 3% to $8.41 billion in the July-September quarter.