Workers at Madison Starbucks locations joined over 360 Starbucks stores in a nationwide strike Thursday.
The strike, called “Red Cup Rebellion,” takes place on Red Cup Day — Starbucks’s biggest sales event of the season and one of the most stressful work days for baristas, according to the Starbucks Workers United website. Starbucks customers in the U.S. and Canada receive a reusable red cup when they purchase at least one holiday beverage.
Starbucks Workers United, the company’s union, organized the strike in solidarity with unionization efforts around the country. Workers are striking against staffing shortages and to negotiate a contract with Starbucks.
Member of the Wisconsin Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee and Starbucks barista Maeve Perkins said the widespread solidarity is important.
“It’s not just us,” Perkins said. “It’s every single Workers United store across the country. All over 360 of us are going on strike.”
Workers at the State Street and Capitol Square locations held a surprise walkout Wednesday at noon, a day ahead of Red Cup Day. The locations have remained closed since. Workers also went on strike last year on Red Cup Day.
In an email statement, Starbucks said it remains committed to enhancing the partner experience and offering everyone who wears the green apron a bridge to a better future.
“We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve seen towards first contracts at stores where union representatives have approached bargaining with professionalism and an actual interest in discussing partner priorities with our bargaining committees,” Starbucks said in the statement.
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Across the U.S., 361 Starbucks stores have unionized but no U.S. Starbucks stores that have held union elections have a contract in place. The State Street Starbucks store voted to unionize June 2023. The Capitol Square store voted to unionize June 2022 and the Starbucks stores in Wisconsin cities like Plover, Oak Creek and Green Bay have also sought union representation.
In the email statement, Starbucks said it invested over 20% of this year’s profits into their partners and stores. It also said all partners at U.S. company-owned stores will receive 3-4% regular annual wage increases and more than 75 union-represented stores will also receive wage increases of up to 5% based on when store partners notified Starbucks of their intent to pursue union representation.
The national efforts within Starbucks to unionize began in December 2022 in Buffalo, New York, when baristas voted to unionize.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated to include a statement from Starbucks.