(CTN News) – Several Starbucks stores in the US have been told that Pride decorations cannot be put up by workers, a labor union claims.
As rightwing activists and consumers attack LGBTQ+ Americans, a rightwing backlash sweeps across the US. Many big companies in the US have been boycotted, including Target and Anheuser-Busch.
There has also been a wave of legislation passed in many Republican-run states that erodes the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially regarding the teaching of gay and trans rights issues in schools.
It has been reported that 74 anti-LGBT+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures in the US so far in 2023, including a record number of those that have been passed.
Workers were allegedly told by Starbucks managers this year that they could not put up Pride decorations after a petition was launched on Coworker.org, a labor organizing website.
Upon arriving to work in June, a Starbucks employee at a non-unionized store in Virginia noticed all of their Pride decorations had been taken down, but requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. It is addressed to their regional manager.
They had just implemented a new no-decorations policy, I was told. My first reaction was, ‘Right before Pride?’ That seems strange and suspicious.
Since our store managers are very supportive of LGBT stuff, most of our employees are LGBT, and I was told it was a regional manager’s decision, I was pretty sure it wasn’t just our store.”
In my opinion, this is outrageous since it’s just a little quality of life thing, it doesn’t affect corporate, it doesn’t affect profits – even customers like it. Many of our customers are LGBT members, and I found that really frustrating and, honestly, pointless.”
The worker criticized Starbucks’s initial denial that Pride decorations were being removed in stores and claimed the company was circumventing the claims by stating the removal of decorations was not part of any corporate policy change since it was a regional management decision that affected their store.
The union representing Starbucks employees at more than 300 locations in the US also posted a thread on Twitter on 13 June claiming that workers in at least 21 states, including unionized stores, have reported that store management is banning Pride decorations.
Despite Starbucks’ denials, the union has cited numerous reports on social media and TikTok videos from workers claiming that Pride decorations were removed from their stores.
According to Starbucks, it is unaware of any corporate policies that prohibit Pride month decorations.
According to the company, it is waiting to hear from the regional manager mentioned in the petition to determine why there is a disconnect between workers and management about decoration policies.
We support the LGBTQIA2+ community unwaveringly. We continue to encourage our store leaders to celebrate with their communities including during US Pride month in June,” said Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trumbull.
In addition, he said: “We are deeply concerned about the false information being shared about our inclusive store environments, our company culture, and our partner benefits.
Throughout our history, Starbucks has recognized and celebrated our diverse partners and customers – including year-round support for the LGBTQIA2+ community.”