WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Starbucks workers in West Hartford are striking on Thursday along with thousands of employees across the U.S. for the Red Cup Rebellion.
The employees started striking in West Hartford at 7 a.m. The Starbucks Workers United union said employees are walking off because Starbucks is illegally refusing to bargain with baristas over staffing, scheduling and other issues.
“The Red Cup Strike in general has been one of the leading strikes that we have. It’s one of the first ones we nationally organized,” said Charles Poventud, a Starbucks shift supervisor.
This comes as the coffee chain gets ready for the Red Cup Day promotion when the company gives out thousands of free reusable red cups. The company said this is one of their busiest customer traffic days of the year.
As part of the strike, workers will now demand that Starbucks turn off their mobile ordering on future promotion days.
“You guys can get a mobile app that says ‘$5 off of this deal’. We could get an influx of a bunch of orders and those tickets don’t stop popping out and we don’t know why, we just have to keep moving,” Poventud said.
The shift supervisor at the West Hartford Starbucks, Travis Glenney-Tegtmeier, said he and his workers are being lied to.
“We are being told that business is growing by utilizing promotional events to draw in more and more customers. Simultaneously, we hear that Starbucks can’t afford to put more workers on the schedule to adequately staff those events. We are being lied to and taken for fools, and we’re sick of it,” Glenney-Tegtmeier said.
Workers also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board after the company refused to bargain with promotion days.
“There’s nothing in place right now. We want to make sure they sit down and agree with a contract,” said Alberto Garcia, a Workers United business agent.
According to a statement from Starbucks, the union has not agreed to meet for bargaining in more than four months.
“We again call on Workers United to fulfill their obligations and engage in the work of negotiating,” Starbucks said in a statement.
Currently, fewer than 400 Starbucks nationwide are unionized and although this strike is only for this one day, workers said there could be more.
“If we continue to let them treat us like this, they’re going to continue to lower the bar, basically,” Poventud said.
Stay with News 8 for updates.