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Starbucks to issue 'clearer' decor rules after pride month clash with union

Published 06/26/2023, 08:19 PM
Updated 06/26/2023, 10:15 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Starbucks logo is pictured on the door of the Green Apron Delivery Service at the Empire State Building in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) -Starbucks plans to issue "clearer" centralized guidelines for in-store visual displays following a union's allegations that managers banned Pride-themed decor, the coffee chain said in an internal memo to employees.

"We intend to issue clearer centralized guidelines... for in-store visual displays and decorations that will continue to represent inclusivity and our brand," Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) North America President Sara Trilling said in the memo.

The memo comes after the union representing the coffee chain's baristas alleged that managers at dozens of Starbucks locations had prevented employees from putting up Pride Month flags and decorations, or had removed them. The coffee giant disputes these allegations.

More than 3,000 workers at over 150 Starbucks stores in the United States will walk off the job, the union said on Friday.

Starbucks also filed two complaints against Workers United with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Monday, alleging that the union made misleading claims on the company's in-store decoration guidelines and gender-affirming care benefits.

The union said in an emailed statement to Reuters that every charge against them by Starbucks was dismissed by the NLRB, adding that any new charges will also be dismissed because "they are nothing more than a public relations stunt meant to distract from Starbucks' own actions."

The union added that if Starbucks wants to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, they will actually listen to their queer workers by coming to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Starbucks logo is pictured on the door of the Green Apron Delivery Service at the Empire State Building in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

NLRB did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Several U.S. retail brands have faced backlash from conservatives over the display of LGBTQ+ merchandise, as well as criticism from gay rights groups for insufficient support for the community.

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