“Starbucks” and “Red Dead Redemptionare two names that aren’t conventionally associated – on the outside, the ultra-hip cafe chain and third-person action-adventure game aren’t exactly two peas in a pod. But, thanks to the recent unrest around unionization at Starbucks and a red death side quest based on historical truth, the two now share an unlikely (but ironic) connection – the Pinkertons.
Wait what? If you are a fan of Red Dead Redemption games, the name “Pinkerton” might tell you something – it’s a gang of gaming antagonists who are often hot on the heels of Dutch’s gang. In red death, the Pinkertons are hired after one of Leviticus Cornwall’s trains is robbed. What some fans may not know, however, is that the Pinkertons are based on an actual detective agency that, like the bounty hunters for hire in the game, took money from the government to investigate. on conspiracies and serve as security.
Alright, the Pinkertons in red death were based on an actual detective agency in the old west. What’s the deal with Starbucks? It may surprise some people to learn that the Pinkerton Agency is still alive and well. Their agency persevered over the years, and they even sent Rockstar Games a cease and desist notice (and later a full lawsuit) about their representation in the red death Games. While thankfully their lawsuits didn’t hold water (Rockstar even fought back with their own lawsuit after the initial brawl), the Pinkerton agency is no stranger to stirring up trouble both in and out of the game, Lo and behold, the latest company to keep Pinkerton on their payroll is, of course, Starbucks.
Just as the former billionaires hired the Pinkerton agency in-game to take on Dutch’s gang, Starbucks hired the current Pinkerton agency to, you guessed it, help break up the unions. Starbucks stores seeking to unionize isn’t a new problem, but over the past few years the conversation around which partners are allowed to join a union has escalated dramatically, so much so that Starbucks apparently felt the need to to hire former Pinkerton employee/CIA agent Amanda Stanfill to help them with their ongoing conflicts with unionization.
In the past year in particular, Starbucks has come under frequent and continued criticism for its anti-union policies and underhanded tactics when it comes to partners hoping to unionize — and for many, hiring workers. a former Pinkerton agency employee (literally a moustache-twirling old west villain) is just the latest in a series of corporate antics aimed at undermining employees.
Although the legal battle between the Starbucks company and Starbucks partners over unionization is a complicated, multi-faceted issue with many elements to explore, Pinkertons’ representation in Red Dead Redemption may help give viewers a better idea of why a Pinkerton employee hired by Starbucks in the midst of a union bust ruffled some feathers.
(image via Rockstar Games)
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