LOCAL NEWS

NLRB: Starbucks violated labor laws, must negotiate with Roastery union

Dec 1, 2022, 2:48 PM
Starbucks union...
Starbucks Reserve Roastery (Flickr)
(Flickr)

A victory for workers at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Capitol Hill after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled Starbucks violated labor laws by refusing to bargain with unionized employees.

The unanimous decision made by the three-member panel ordered  Starbucks’ subsidiary, Siren Retail Corp., to negotiate with the new union.

Union participates in ‘Red Cup Rebellion’ at Seattle Starbucks

“By failing and refusing since July 14, 2022, to recognize and bargain with the Union as the exclusive collective-bargaining representative of the employees in the appropriate unit, the Respondent has engaged in unfair labor practices,” the ruling reads.

The Starbucks Roastery workers voted to join a union, “Starbucks Workers United,” by a 38-27 margin in April. The election was certified in May by the NLRB.

Liz Duran, an employee at the roastery and union representative, says that the decision is a huge win and important in getting union recognition at the location.

“We are happy to see that the NLRB saw through Starbucks’ obvious attempts at union busting and delaying bargaining by ruling in our favor,” Duran said. “This is yet another example of the many instances of Starbucks being reprimanded for their actions that violate federal law over the past year of this movement that has empowered workers in Starbucks and beyond.”

The Seattle store joined more than 250 Starbucks locations that have voted to unionize over the past few years, including 11 other locations that have unionized in Seattle.

The board ordered Starbucks to recognize and bargain with the union and post a notice with employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

When KIRO Newsradio reached out for a comment, Starbucks did not provide a response. Starbucks told The Seattle Times it plans to appeal the board’s decision.

Once Starbucks moves away from its ‘Third Place’ model, what does it have left to offer?

This is not the first violation that Starbucks has faced from the NLRB, as the coffee giant is facing at least 20 allegations of unfair labor practices and illegal union busting. This includes allegations that Starbucks was withholding pay hikes and other benefits from stores that have voted to unionize.

So what does this decision mean for the roastery and the unionization movement within Starbucks as a whole? Liz Duran might have an answer.

“I’m excited to finally move into the next step of the process and to get to a bargaining table and to win us a fair contract,” Duran said. “The Reserve Roastery is supposed to be the flagship of the company, why not lead by example and show your willingness to bargain in good faith with us and be a model for the rest of the country?”

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NLRB: Starbucks violated labor laws, must negotiate with Roastery union