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Red Cup Rebellion: Starbucks Workers Strike

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More than 2,000 Starbucks employees at 112 locations across the nation are on strike on one of the chain's busiest days of the year in what's been cheekily named the Red Cup Rebellion.

The striking employees are part of the Starbucks Workers United and they walked off the job to protest corporate retaliation taken against union supporters, according to CNN. The chain's attorneys have walked out on bargaining sessions or otherwise made it difficult for union leaders to participate since employees started organizing last year. Though 264 locations have voted to unionize, no contracts have been negotiated even at stores that voted a year ago. 

Stores in 25 states are participating either with hourslong or full-day walkouts. Though it only represents a fraction of Starbucks locations, it's the union's largest single-day strike so far. 

The workers chose to walk out on what is known as red cup day, typically one of the most harried days of the year for baristas, when the chain gives out free limited-edition reusable cups with holiday drink orders. Customers generally line up early in the morning just to snag one. It's one of the hardest days to fully staff because it's so busy, according to the union.


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Striking workers at some locations are offering disappointed customers an alternative to a Starbucks red cup: Their own red plastic cup, complete with a Grinch hand holding the union's logo instead of the iconic Starbucks mermaid. 

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