Union accuses Starbucks of unfair labor practices…again

Apr 26, 2023, 5:32 PM | Updated: 10:12 pm

starbucks office...

The Starbucks logo crests the clock tower at the coffee chain's Seattle headquarters. (Photo by Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

(Photo by Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The icy relationship between Starbucks management and the union attempting to organize baristas and other workers is not likely to thaw anything soon.

In a story first appearing on Bloomberg.com and later in the Seattle Times, the U.S. labor relations board is accusing Starbucks of refusing to negotiate in good faith at more than 100 newly unionized cafes.

In a complaint filed Tuesday, prosecutors allege the coffee chain has illegally “failed and refused” to collectively bargain fairly at 144 sites.

The company has said that all claims of anti-union activity are “categorically false.”

The first two cafes to unionize with Starbucks Workers United are in Seattle where there have been several protests and marches. Workers have been demanding better wages and working conditions. They also want full staffing.

Starbucks announced a $450 million strategy earlier this year to grow the number of stores and focus on new consumer behavior. The company says it invested more than $1 billion in wages and training, bringing the average hourly pay at Starbucks to nearly $17.50 per hour nationally and with a range of $15 to $23 per hour.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said in the complaint that Starbucks “bargained with no intention of reaching agreement” with the union, including by “insisting upon proposals that are predictably unacceptable to the union,” and “demeaning and otherwise undermining the union’s chosen representatives.”

“We will continue to negotiate in good faith,” former chief executive officer Howard Schultz testified last month before a U.S. Senate committee.

There have been 80 complaints against Starbucks, accusing the company of illegal anti-union tactics including threats, store shutdowns and terminations of dozens of activists.

Complaints are heard first by NLRB judges whose decisions can be appealed to labor board members in Washington, D.C., and from there into federal court.

Starbucks Workers United has won in elections at 300 of the company’s roughly 9,000 corporate-run U.S. cafes. None of those locations has come close to securing a collective bargaining agreement with the company.

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Union accuses Starbucks of unfair labor practices…again