Starbucks broke the law by firing and threatening pro-union workers, labor council alleges

Starbucks has committed a series of labor law violations by firing pro-union workers, disciplining and surveilling others, closing stores and changing labor policies in the course of its battle with an organizing campaign, according to a complaint filed by Labor officials. on Friday.

A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board has filed the charges against the Seattle-based coffee chain, having found merit in the allegations made by the Workers United union. The union has successfully organized more than 50 Starbucks stores since last year, despite an aggressive counter-campaign by the company.

The complaint filed on Friday was unusually broad, alleging a pattern of bullying and retaliation at several stores in New York.

The complaint says that Starbucks closed stores with the intent to intimidate workers seeking a union, punished workers who supported the organizing effort, sent managers to surveil union sympathizers and granted benefits to try to turn workers against the union.

A spokesperson for Starbucks did not immediately comment on the complaint.

The union campaign, known as Starbucks Workers United, said the complaint “totally unmasks the facade of Starbucks as a ‘progressive company’.”

“Starbucks has been saying there’s never been a union break in Buffalo. Today, the NLRB sets the record,” the campaign said in a statement on Friday. “The complaint confirms the extent and depravity of Starbucks conduct in western New York for nearly a year. Starbucks will be held accountable for the union-destroying minefield that forced workers through the struggle for their right to organize.”

Most of the alleged actions took place at Starbucks stores in the Buffalo area, where the organizing campaign began in 2021. Since then, the effort has spread across the country, with more than 200 stores calling for union elections.

Such a labor council complaint may result in a settlement in which the employer agrees to change certain policies and perhaps reinstate workers who have been laid off. If an agreement is not reached, the case can go to trial, with witnesses from both sides testifying.

The charges are part of a wider legal struggle between Starbucks and Workers United, with the campaign accusing the company of retaliating against organizers. The union has urged board employees to file lawsuits against Starbucks, arguing that the company’s actions will have a chilling effect on workers who would otherwise claim their rights.

Labor council officials have already found merit in some of the union’s claims. A different regional director recently filed charges against Starbucks for laying off a group of Tennessee workers known as the Memphis Seven.

In another case, the labor council’s general counsel went to federal court seeking a temporary injunction to reset three Starbucks employees to work. The general counsel accused Starbucks of targeting workers for their union support.

Read the full complaint below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.