Starbucks is bracing for a significant walkout at hundreds of its US stores, organized by Starbucks Workers United, the union representing numerous Starbucks workers. The walkout, set for

one of the coffee chain's busiest days, is the latest development in an ongoing dispute between the union and the company over various issues like pay and scheduling.

Expected to impact roughly 200 stores on November 16, the protest is a strategic move by Starbucks workers to push for better treatment and conditions within the company. The union, highlighting concerns about fair negotiations and inadequate staffing during promotional days, plans to stage this walkout during Starbucks' 'Red Cup' day, coinciding with the distribution of the company's holiday-themed cups.

Barista and union leader Michelle Eisen emphasized that Starbucks should prioritize its workers, suggesting the company has the resources to provide better conditions. This walkout marks the second consecutive year on 'Red Cup' day, signaling the union's determination to bring attention to their demands.

The union's aim is to underscore Starbucks' reluctance to engage in fair negotiations with the unionized stores. Eisen highlighted the potential impact of customer and community support, expressing confidence in attracting wider attention and potentially affecting the company's reputation.

Despite Starbucks' assertion that the walkout won't cause significant disruptions, the company's stance contrasts with the union's claims. Starbucks has defended its efforts, citing substantial investments in higher wages, training, and equipment. However, the union argues that Starbucks has deliberately stalled negotiations, leading to delays and disruptions.

The unionization movement at Starbucks has faced resistance from the company, including accusations of labor law violations and reported efforts to impede the movement by firing workers and closing stores. Starbucks' former CEO, Howard Schultz, had to testify before Congress last year in response to the union's allegations.

Despite challenges, the union movement at Starbucks has had a broader impact, inspiring and energizing workers at other companies. Eisen acknowledged the labor movement's growth but expressed frustration at the ongoing struggle within Starbucks, despite other unions achieving significant victories elsewhere. Photo by GoToVan from Vancouver, Canada, Wikimedia commons.