Customers of a few unionized Starbucks in New Jersey need to get their peppermint mocha coffee elsewhere on Thursday.

Instead of Starbucks “Red Cup Day,” staff at three locations were taking part in a counter effort dubbed the “Red Cup Rebellion.”

Red Cup Day involves thousands of Starbucks locations across the country offering customers a branded, reusable cup with select holiday or seasonal drink purchases, while supplies last.

The unionized locations have accused the corporation of months’ worth of union-busting retaliation, which Starbucks has denied.

Striking workers would instead be rallying outside of their stores, handing out alternative Starbucks Workers United branded cups.

Starbucks in Hopewell, (899 Denow Road,) Montclair (40 South Park Street) and Summit (2 Beachwood Road) were joining in the Starbucks Workers United demonstrations, handing out cups decorated with a “Grinch” hand above a union logo.

Pickets were planned outside the Hopewell and Montclair locations from 7 a.m. until noon, while the demonstration in Summit was slated from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m.

‘Union busting’ accusations

Between January and this month, Starbucks Workers United has grown to represent roughly 260 locations, involving about 7,000 workers nationwide.

They have accused the corporation of firing workers, shutting down stores and other retaliatory actions, which Starbucks has repeatedly denied.

The National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday asked a federal court for a “nationwide cease and desist order” barring Starbucks from firing employees for union activity, as reported by Vice News.

Starbucks strikes in NJ (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media)
Starbucks strikes in NJ (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media)

It’s the latest among dozens of official complaints filed by the NLRB against Starbucks.

“We have and will continue to follow the established law and the NLRB processes for all negotiations. We respect our partners' voices and their right to be represented by a union,” according to a statement from spokesman Andrew W. Trull given to NBC News. 

Joining Starbucks workers in the picket lines at Montclair and Hopewell were members of the state AFL-CIO labor union.

Overall, about 2,000 workers at more than 112 Starbucks stores nationwide went on strike Thursday, according to the AFL-CIO.

In addition to pressing Starbucks management to negotiate a "fair first contract," the "Red Cup Rebellion" was meant to boost public awareness of work issues that prompted baristas to unionize, including safety and pay.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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