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Starbucks workers upset, say stores won't allow Pride decorations

Starbucks says it has not made any changes to its Pride Month policies and reaffirmed its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.
Starbucks workers upset, say stores won't allow Pride decorations
Posted at 8:23 AM, Jun 15, 2023

Starbucks Workers United issued a statement this week expressing frustration and claiming the company has stopped employees at some locations from putting up Pride Month decorations. 

The union said these workers were allowed and "encouraged" to put up Pride Month decorations without incident in previous years. 

The employees union says workers have been given different reasons for the change. The union said workers in Massachusetts were told there were not enough "labor hours" to put up decorations. It said workers in Oklahoma were told not to put decorations up for safety reasons following threats made to Target stores over LGBTQ+ clothing. 

"When I first started working at Starbucks it felt like a safe place; a place where I could openly use they/them pronouns and talk about my partner at work without fear," Virginia Starbucks employee Meghin Martin said in a statement provided by the union. "With many of my coworkers also being in the LGBTQIA+ community, we proudly hung a pride flag in our store. Showing people in the community that this was a safe place for them. Starbucks making us take down our pride flag feels like a blatant and tone-deaf act of disrespect and harm toward me, my coworkers, and the LGBTQIA+ community." 

SEE MORE: During Pride Month, celebrating diversity in the LGBTQ+ community

Starbucks has expressed its support for Pride Month and openly backed LGBTQ+ rights. The company denies making any changes to its Pride Month decoration policy.

"Here at Starbucks, we are dedicated to creating experiences where everyone is welcome and respected, with the belief that we are at our best when we create safe, inclusive environments for people to connect over coffee," Starbucks said in a statement earlier this week. "Recognizing Pride Month every June is a longstanding tradition Starbucks is proud to be a part of. There has been no change to any guidance related to how our stores across the United States celebrate this moment."

The criticism comes as some companies, most notably Target and Anheuser-Busch, have backed off on their support for Pride Month. 

SEE MORE: Ex-Starbucks employee gets $25.6M for firing after 2018 arrests

Last month, Target stores pulled some merchandise that celebrates Pride Month amid intense backlash from customers and threats to employees. Target said removing the items from shelves was done to protect employees. 

Bud Light and its parent company Anheuser-Busch recently came under fire after the beer brand partnered with trans activist Dylan Mulvaney

At the start of Pride Month, Over 100 organizations called on the business community to “reject and speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ extremism going into Pride Month.”

“Recent pushback against businesses such as Anheuser-Busch and Target, blatantly organized by extremist groups, serves as a wake-up call for all businesses that support the LGBTQ+ community,” the letter from the 100 organizations read. “We’ve seen this extremist playbook of attacks before. Their goal is clear: to prevent  LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation, silence our allies and make our community invisible. 

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