Starbucks on Strike


No contract, no coffee. It’s as simple as that for Amanda Moore and other Ann Arbor Starbucks employees.

Through texting and after-hours communication, three Starbucks Coffeehouses in Ann Arbor joined with hundreds of others across the country on a strike for “Red Cup Day” — a celebration intended to bring in more customers.

In the summer of 2021, Starbucks employees began unionizing their stores. However, Starbucks would not come to the table and negotiate with the employees for their contracts, so the employees decided they had had enough. Fed up with Starbucks’ contract negotiations, baristas stood on the corner of Main Street and Liberty Street to finally make their voices heard.

When the Main and Liberty Starbucks employees introduced themselves to Starbucks associates via Zoom, the associates refused to do any negotiating online despite having been notified of their virtual attendance prior and having done online negotiating in past years.

“It’s just disappointing that they’re basically trying to find any reason to continue to halt the negotiation process for our contract,” Moore said. “Their goal is to wear us out so that we don’t put up a fight.”

The first contract they’re negotiating is non-economic: respect, dignity and fair, safe workspaces.

“[The first contract] covers things that I think would make really big differences for the partners such as coming to work and having a clean apron every day,” Moore said. “The non-economic contract is really simple. It’s not asking for much.”

Further negotiations were planned to cover the economics.

“We all deserve higher wages, especially workers that have worked here for a long period of time,” Moore said. “I’m new to the company. I see people that have worked here for many years and I just know they should be paid much more than I’m paid.”

The Starbucks strikers are hoping to get attention. They hope that Starbucks will recognize that it’s important to negotiate.

“Obviously, they’re going to lose a fair amount of profits today,” Moore said. “But, people over profits, right? People matter more than that.”

As their first strike, the workers on Starbucks Main and Liberty want to be heard and noticed. Their goal is to show up with signs and gain attention.

“We are working with Starbucks workers united, and they’ve been really fabulous and helped us learn what the strike is and that kind of stuff,” Moore said. “I believe the community will come out and support us. People matter.”