Marchers with Starbucks walk through the landmark intersection of Hollywood and Highland during the annual Pride Parade in Los Angeles, June 12, 2022.
David Mcnew | Getty Images
Starbucks Workers United said Tuesday that dozens of the coffee chain’s U.S. stores are not allowing employees to dress up for Pride month.
Starbucks said in a statement to CNBC that the company is unwavering in its support of the LGBTQ+ community and has not changed its policies for store decorations.
“No policy has changed on this matter, and we continue to encourage our store leaders to celebrate with their communities, including during June’s American Pride month,” the company said.
A Starbucks spokesperson told CNBC that the company’s safety and security manual provides broad guidance for stores around decorations. However, local store managers and employees are free to choose their own decoration within these guidelines.
The union’s claims come as the LGBTQ+ community faces increased attacks, from protests to legislation to physical violence. Republican lawmakers have targeted medical care for transgender people and drag queens. Nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures this session. the sum of the ACLU. At the same time, they fed conservative activists will in recent months against corporations that have shown their support for the LGBTQ+ community, incl Anheuser-Busch InBev, Kohl’s and the North Wall.
Starbucks has long had a reputation as a progressive company, backed by a history of supporting its LGBTQ+ workers, including transgender baristas. Its health benefits were extended to same-sex partnerships before the US legalized gay marriage in 2015. Workers previously received buttons and apparel celebrating LGBTQ+ rights. Starbucks insurance has covered gender reassignment surgery since 2013.
But Starbucks Workers United said baristas in at least 22 states have reported instances where district and store managers told them they couldn’t decorate for Pride month or when store representatives took down Pride flags.
Some Massachusetts workers were told there weren’t enough work hours to schedule decorations for partners, the union said. Managers told employees in Maryland that some people don’t feel represented by the “pride umbrella,” according to the labor group.
In Oklahoma, workers have been told there is no decoration restriction following recent security attacks target stores, the union said. at the end of May, target recalled some of its Pride merchandise, citing threats against its employees. Some of the retailer’s southern locations have also moved Pride collections to less visible areas on the floor. The Washington Post reported that Target stores in at least five states were evacuated this weekend after bomb threats.
Starbucks employees in Oklahoma were also banned from displaying Pride flags in store windows. Starbucks policy prohibits blocking windows so that baristas have a clear view of the area outside the stores.
The clash over the Pride decorations also comes as Starbucks continues its fight with its baristas over unionization. More than 300 company-owned locations have voted to unionize, but no stores have yet signed a collective bargaining agreement with Starbucks.
The union has accused Starbucks of delaying negotiations, which the company denies. Baristas are trying to use public pressure to bring the coffee giant to the negotiating table.