Encinitas Starbucks workers walk off job as part of nationwide strike over Pride decorations

The Encinitas Starbucks at 905 Orpheus Ave.
Workers at the Encinitas Starbucks at 905 Orpheus Ave. went on strike Friday along with other Starbucks locations across the nation.

San Diego County’s only unionized Starbucks is part of a roughly 150-store action to protest what they say are anti-LGBT policies


The Encinitas Starbucks is closed Friday, June 30, as its union workers join with more than 150 other stores as part of a joint strike over contract negotiations and complaints over Pride month displays.

Now in its seventh day, Starbucks union workers across the nation have gone on strike over claims about the company’s policy on Pride decorations, which they say limited LGBT signage in stores. The Seattle company has denied this.

Encinitas Starbucks workers voted in May to unionize its location at 905 Orpheus Ave., becoming the first location in San Diego County with a union. Workers in Encinitas say this will be a one-day strike, meaning the busy store should be open Saturday.

“We want to stand with our LGBTQ+ partners who have been retaliated against,” said Nelle Kaufman, 26, a union member and shift manager at the Encinitas location.

Starbucks Workers United alleged in mid-June that workers were being asked to remove Pride decorations and other actions perceived as anti-LGBT. It used examples in Ohio, Georgia, Wisconsin and non-specified stores across the U.S. The company fired back Tuesday, filing an unfair labor claim against the union saying the Pride claims were “deliberate misrepresentations.”

Sara Trilling, president of Starbucks North America, issued a statement this week on its website saying there had been no change as it relates to its “inclusive store environments” and praised its pro-LGBT policies.

The Starbucks union has been without a contract, seeking better wages and benefits, since its formation in 2021. The stalemate has led to many complaints about Starbucks to the National Labor Relations Board. It lost a case in March that required the coffee company to rehire and compensate seven unlawfully fired workers who were organizing a union.

NLRB Administrative Law Judge Michael A. Rosas wrote in the decision that Starbucks had violated labor laws hundreds of times to affect workers’ organizing efforts through “egregious and widespread misconduct demonstrating a general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights.”

Kaufman accused the company of failing to negotiate a contract in good faith.

“We want to work with them,” she said. “Obviously, we wouldn’t have stuck around, bargained and have that seat at the table if we didn’t want to make this company that we all love work.”

Starbucks union workers Friday morning outside the Encinitas store.
(Starbucks Workers United)