Thousands of Starbucks workers strike on Red Cup Day

A beloved Starbucks holiday became a rallying point for disgruntled workers when strikes broke out across the country on Thursday.


More than 2,000 Starbucks employees at 112 locations went on strike during Starbucks Red Cup Day, a day-long event where customers can order any holiday drink and receive that year’s special edition of a red cup. Free reusable (while supplies last, of course).

The holidays often cause chaos with fans lining up before stores open to make sure they get their hands on one. But this year there was chaos of a different kind. Strikes organized by a national union decided to hit back at Starbucks and use the ever-popular day to bring their demands home amid an ongoing fight for national unionization of Starbucks stores that has received much opposition.

Related: ‘What a nice surprise to brighten my morning’: Starbucks is giving away freebies and customers are ecstatic

Throughout the day on Thursday, #RedCupRebellion trended on Twitter, with many posts supporting worker unionization efforts and others documenting scenes of the strikes.

Starbucks is being accused of various anti-union actions, including retaliation against employees who expressed interest in forming or joining a union and offering additional benefits and raises to non-union stores.

The first Starbucks store to unionize was one located in Buffalo, New York, in December 2021.

Starbucks was down just over 14.3% in a year-long period through Thursday afternoon.

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