Labor Board Sues Starbucks

NLRB is suing coffee chain, says it retaliated against workers trying to unionize
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2022 1:53 AM CDT
Starbucks Retaliated Against Workers for Union Efforts, Says NLRB
Pro-union pins sit on a table during a watch party for Starbucks' employees union election, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y.   (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File)

The National Labor Relations Board is suing Starbucks, alleging the coffee chain retaliated against three employees for their union-organizing efforts. "Among other things, Starbucks disciplined, suspended, and discharged one employee, constructively discharged another, and placed a third on an unpaid leave of absence after revoking recently granted accommodations," the NLRB says in a statement. It is asking for the workers to be immediately reinstated, among other things, NPR reports. For its part, Starbucks says the employees in question violated company policies and, in some cases, state law. "The intimidation, bullying and harassment we're seeing from some union organizers is not acceptable," it says in its own statement.

Per CNBC, the legal fight between Starbucks and the increasing number of its workers who wish to unionize is expected to be long and costly. More than 200 locations have filed paperwork to unionize under Workers United, though only 24 stores have so far voted to unionize. Starbucks says it has filed its own unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB against Workers United "to protect the physical safety and emotional wellbeing" of employees and customers; it says the union broke federal labor laws. Starbucks is "grasping at straws," per a Workers United spokesperson, who says, per Axios, the chain is "launching an unprecedented and aggressive anti-union campaign against workers, including terminating over 19 union leaders across the country." (More Starbucks stories.)

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