Starbucks Workers United, a union representing Starbucks employees, has claimed that several U.S. stores of the coffee chain are not allowing employees to decorate for Pride month. However, Starbucks has stated that there has been no change in its policies and that it continues to support the LGBTQ+ community. The company explained that while it provides broad guidance on store decorations in its security and safety manual, local store leaders and employees have the flexibility to make their own choices within those guidelines.
The union’s claim comes at a time when the LGBTQ+ community is facing increased attacks and discrimination, including protests, legislative measures, and physical violence. Starbucks has been known for its progressive stance and support for LGBTQ+ rights, including providing health benefits to same-sex partnerships before gay marriage was legalized in the U.S. Additionally, the company has offered insurance coverage for gender reassignment surgery since 2013.
Starbucks Workers United has reported instances in which baristas in various states were told they couldn’t decorate for Pride month or had their Pride flags taken down. Reasons cited for these restrictions ranged from concerns about labor hours and representation to safety issues following recent attacks at other retail stores.
The clash over Pride decorations occurs alongside ongoing unionization efforts by Starbucks employees. Over 300 company-owned locations have voted to unionize, but no collective bargaining agreements have been signed yet. The union has accused Starbucks of delaying negotiations, while baristas have been seeking public pressure to push the company toward the negotiating table.