This story has been updated to include comments from Starbucks.
Singer Ed Sheeran really put the "spice" in pumpkin spice latte over the weekend when his PR stunt at Starbucks was met with anger by the Starbucks union.
It all began when Sheeran made an appearance at a Starbucks in Seattle on Friday, August 25. Sporting a green apron, the crooner took a shift as a barista in promotion of his upcoming album, Autumn Variations. The appearance also took place the same week the new Starbucks fall menu was released.
Unfortunately for Sheeran, who previously pulled a shift at The Wieners Circle in Chicago, he should have done a bit more research before appearing at this particular Starbucks. It turns out that this Starbucks location has been the target of various union-busting tactics, according to the union Starbucks Workers United. The worker-led unionizing effort called him out on X (formerly Twitter) to let him know.
Ed Sheeran working a shift at a Starbucks store in Seattle that faced massive union-busting is straight up embarrassing. pic.twitter.com/G27lGHhpXV
— Starbucks Workers United (@SBWorkersUnited) August 26, 2023
"Ed Sheeran working a shift at a Starbucks store in Seattle that faced massive union-busting is straight up embarrassing," the organization tweeted.
Before urging him to "DO BETTER," Starbucks Workers United provided further insight on what makes Sheeran's visit even more disappointing.
"Not to mention almost every 'worker' you see in that photo wearing a green apron is management, not baristas. AND, meanwhile, workers at the Starbucks store down the street were drowning because they were grossly understaffed due to hour cuts," they wrote.
Sheeran joins a growing list of celebrities who have been spotted "working" shifts at popular restaurants for promotional purposes. Just recently, photos of Lana Del Rey serving breakfast at Waffle House surfaced online. And how can we forget about Ben Affleck's Dunkin' shift that later turned into a Super Bowl commercial?
Update: A rep from Starbucks emailed Delish to say that the Seattle store where Sheeran appeared is not represented by the union and there is no active petition at that location. And changes to the store schedule were not made for his appearance. Additionally, several Starbucks employees very much appreciated the stunt and said that it was their "favorite day ever."
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