Striking workers shut down Lansing Starbucks on Red Cup Day

Nationwide demonstration calls for the coffee chain to bargain with union members for new contracts

click to enlarge Employees picket outside the Lake Lansing and Kerry Street Starbucks on Nov. 17. - Courtesy of Matthew Kain
Courtesy of Matthew Kain
Employees picket outside the Lake Lansing and Kerry Street Starbucks on Nov. 17.

Starbucks workers across the country are participating in a “Red Cup Rebellion” labor strike for the chain’s Red Cup Day.

In Lansing, Starbucks workers shut down the store at 2624 Lake Lansing Rd. after a majority joined the picket line.

“Our goal was to shut it down and we did,” Grace Norris, who works at the shop, tells Metro Times. “We’re trying to show Starbucks that we’re serious and we’re coordinated on a national level.”

More than 100 Starbucks locations nationwide, including seven in Michigan, have gone on strike on Thursday, Nov. 17 in an effort organized by Starbucks Workers United. It’s being called the Red Cup Rebellion as a clap back to the chain’s Red Cup Day, where customers are given a reusable Starbucks-branded cup.

The Lake Lansing and Kerry Street Starbucks where Norris works voted to unionize 13-3 in June. She says the workers have repeatedly attempted to meet and bargain with Starbucks for a new contract but the company continues to give them the run-around.

“On Oct. 25 Starbucks agreed to sit down at the table with us and we were so excited,” she says, noting that meetings with Starbucks have been held both virtually and in person. “What Starbucks does is they come and sit down and say that they don’t like that we’re including bargaining members over Zoom and then they leave, wasting everyone’s time.”

She adds, “We would love to sit down and bargain with them if they would actually sit down and bargain with us.”

Norris says the union has reasonable contract demands and isn’t asking for anything outrageous.

“One of those things is improved scheduling to make our lives easier but also so customers don’t have such long wait times because we are such a high volume store,” she notes. “This union fight is as much for us and our store as it is for the customers.”

Workers shut down the Lake Lansing and Kerry Street location around 1 p.m. on Thursday and plan to stay on the picket line until around 10:30 p.m.

So far, 12 Michigan Starbucks have formed a union, joining a wave that began last December when a New York store became the chain’s first unionized company-owned location in the country.

Another location in Royal Oak filed a petition for a union in October.

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About The Author

Randiah Camille Green

After living in Japan and traveling across Asia, Randiah Camille Green realized Detroit will always be home. And when she says Detroit, she's talking about the hood, not the suburbs. She has bylines in Planet Detroit News , Bridge Detroit , BLAC magazine, and Model D . Her favorite pastimes are meditating...
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