Details about event

Starbucks workers in Columbus, Ohio went on strike this morning (November 16), joining the coast-to-coast “Red Cup Rebellion,” demanding the coffee giant stop illegally refusing to bargain with baristas over staffing, scheduling and other issues. The strike comes on Red Cup Day, when the company hands out tens-of-thousands of free reusable cups, one of its busiest customer traffic days of the year. 

As part of the strike, workers will demand Starbucks turn off mobile ordering on future promotion days, which company executives are scheduling with increasing frequency. 

Quinn Nutter, a shift supervisor at the Westerville Starbucks, had this to say about the strike:

“The Starbucks Union drive has been going on for over two years. We have been vocal that the biggest issue in our stores is the rampant understaffing. Starbucks has not only refused to listen, they are making our situation more unbearable by unilaterally conducting promotional days with no increased staffing to compensate for the demand. Red Cup Day is one of their busiest days of the year, and we are striking to protest these unfair labor practices. We see across many different sectors the accomplishments workers can achieve when we come together to bargain for the working conditions that we deserve, and I know we can create better working conditions for our partners as well.”

Workers earlier this fall filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board over Starbucks’ refusal to bargain around promotion days. Promotion days like Red Cup Day, half-off ThursYays and Buy One Get One Free offers cause a flood of customers to stores, without any additional staffing to cover the influx in orders. On Red Cup Day, drink orders pile up and are abandoned, lines are out the door, and Starbucks workers are left to handle angry customers who have had to wait as much longer than usual for their beverages and food all while trying to make complicated holiday specialty beverages as fast as possible. When the supply of red cups runs out, customers get disappointed and often take their anger out on workers. 


WHO: Columbus area Starbucks workers, with support from local labor and community allies

WHAT: Strike demanding Starbucks stop illegally refusing to bargain with baristas over staffing, scheduling and other issues.  

WHEN: Thursday, November 16 at 8am

WHERE: 88 E Broad Street, Columbus, OH; 1085 West 5th Avenue, Columbus, OH; 1784 N High Street, Columbus, OH; 533 S State Street, Westerville, OH.


The historic union wins by 9,000 Starbucks workers over the last two years at more than 360 stores nationwide have sparked a movement across the country of workers seeking to join unions. 

But Starbucks has conducted a coordinated, scorched-earth campaign, centrally directed from its corporate labor relations office, to illegally frustrate and stall bargaining. The National Labor Relations Board is prosecuting Starbucks at an ongoing trial in Seattle over this refusal to bargain. 

Instead of bargaining with workers, Starbucks has illegally offered workers at only nonunion stores benefits like credit card tipping that unionized workers have called for since the beginning of the campaign. Last week, they offered 3% raises to nonunion workers, a move union workers called “tone deaf” given the company’s record fourth quarter revenue and the recent 25% increases won by auto workers. 


The November 16 Red Cup Rebellion is expected to draw in students and customers, who are increasingly calling on the company to live up to its progressive values and listen to workers who are demanding the company respect their right to a union and bargain a fair contract. 

Earlier this week, students at the University of California-Los Angeles introduced a resolution at the student council calling on the administration to kick Starbucks off of campus as a consequence for its illegal union busting, which has resulted in administrative law judges finding the company has broken the law more than 270 times. 

The Red Cup Rebellion comes as workers across the economy–from auto workers, to Hollywood writers and actors to fast-food cooks and cashiers, are increasingly taking bold action to demand more from employers who are raking in profits, but failing to share that prosperity with their workers.