South Florida Starbucks’ unionized workers set to walk off the job on ‘Red Cup Day’

Starbucks' Red Cup (Starbucks)

Thousands of Starbucks employees across the country say they will walk off the job on “Red Cup Day” on Thursday to protest scheduling, pay and staffing, including at the Starbucks in Miami Springs, according to Starbucks Workers United.

At least 366 U.S. Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since 2021, according to the National Labor Relations Board. But Starbucks and the Workers United union have yet to reach a labor agreement at any of those stores. Starbucks has 9,600 company-operated stores in the U.S.

“We stand in solidarity with our Starbucks brothers and sisters today to tell Starbucks to stop their anti-union tactics and come back to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair and decent contract with their hard-working employees.” said Jeffery Mitchell, President of the South Florida AFL-CIO.

Starbucks’ Red Cup Day is annual event, when the chain gives away red holiday-themed reusable cups. Customers who reuse their cups received a $0.10 discount on their order and earn bonus stars on their Starbucks rewards account.

Earlier this month, Starbucks said it would increase wages — which currently average $17.50 per hour — starting Jan. 1. Employees at both union and non-union stores who have worked four years or less will get raises of 3% or 4% depending on years of service.

Employees, who have worked five years or more will be eligible for a 5% increase. But since that’s a new benefit, it must be negotiated with Workers United and is therefore not available to unionized stores, the company said.

Workers United rejected that claim, and said it will file unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks with the NLRB.

“Withholding benefits from unionized stores is against the law,” the union said.

Starbucks said it is also shortening the time hourly employees must work before accruing vacation days from one year to 90 days. That benefit is also only available to workers at non-unionized stores.

The company also announced a new North American barista championship open to employees in the U.S. and Canada. The company said program also won’t be available to employees at unionized stores since it involves prize money and travel.

Starbucks’ actions go against a September ruling by an administrative law judge for the NLRB, who ruled that the company acted illegally last fall when it raised pay only for non-union workers. Starbucks has appealed that ruling, saying NLRB’s standards don’t allow employers to make unilateral changes in the wages or benefits of unionized employees.

Starbucks Workers United said employees at the Miami Springs location are set to begin their strike on Thursday at 10 a.m.

About the Authors:

Veronica Crespo writes for and also oversees the Español section of the website. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism and Spanish.