Starbucks Workers Across The US Begin 3-Day 'Double Down' Strike

Starbucks has experienced several big moments in its company history, from the year it was founded (1971), to when current CEO Howard Schultz joined the company as director of retail operations (1982). The company timeline even mentions the year the company offered full health benefits to both full-time and part-time employees (1988), as well as the year it offered its stock option program (1991).

Now, members of Starbucks Workers United may be looking to add another date to the company's timeline — 2022, as the year a thousand baristas walked out for three days in the longest collective action the unionized workers have ever undertaken, per Twitter. Aside from walking out on their jobs and paralyzing the stores, workers are urging the public not to buy Starbucks gift cards, because the company has not been upfront about how it uses unspent funds found on these cards, which totaled $212 million this fiscal year, per In These Times

The walkout, which affects about 100 stores across the country, starts December 16 and is seen as a continuation of the mass action the group undertook on November 17 this year, just in time for the company's "Red Cup Day," which is one of the busiest days for the coffee chain.

A response to alleged union-busting activities

Starbucks Workers United announced the three-day strike on Twitter and said it was taking action because instead of sitting down to negotiate with union leaders, the coffee giant was instead engaged in union-busting activities. To back its claim, the Union said the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had issued "39 official complaints against Starbucks," which covered over 900 alleged violations of federal labor law, per Good Morning America

Since this year's Red Cup Day — which the Union refers to as "Red Cup Rebellion," striking workers say they continued to see actions that were categorized as unfair labor practices, which were currently under investigation by the NLRB. These include denying unionized stores tips gathered through credit cards, cutting the number of hours a store is open, as well as closing stores that have unionized, per In These Times. 

Striking union members say that just as Starbucks is "doubling down" on union busting, they are "doubling down" too. As with the Red Cup Rebellion, the striking baristas are hoping to ask the company to engage in fair staffing, stopping store closures, and that management bargain with the union "in good faith."

But don't expect it to end just like that, as the union has already told In These Times that Starbucks should expect to see "more escalating actions" after the pre-Christmas three-day strike.