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Starbucks used Many Illegal Tactics Against Unionizing Workers

The National Labor Relations Board is requesting that a federal court compel Starbucks to cease employing what it describes as an “array of unlawful methods” against its employees who are trying to organize a union at the coffee chain’s locations.

Since employees at a Starbucks location in Buffalo decided to form a union in December, the NLRB has filed three petitions against the firm in federal court in western New York, marking a first for the retailer’s approximately 10,000 corporate-owned outlets nationwide. Since then, more than 289 locations have applied to the NLRB to hold elections, and at least 151 stores have voted to unionise.

Starbucks rejects the unionisation movement, claiming the business operates more effectively when dealing with its employees directly. However, it has continuously denied accusations that it employs illegal methods to deter workers from seeking to organize. In its most recent brief, the NLRB asked the court to force to reinstate seven Buffalo employees who, according to the agency, were wrongfully let go for attempting to organise a union. Additionally, it asks the court to order Starbucks to engage in negotiations with a store whose union election was allegedly affected by the company’s anti-union activities.

According to the NLRB, Starbucks employed “an extensive array of illegal tactics,” which included firing seven union activists at five different locations over the course of six weeks, closing stores where active organizing drives were underway, and using managers to monitor staff and discourage union activity. According to Linda Leslie, the NLRB’s regional director in Buffalo, “Samsung will achieve its aim, by unlawful tactics, or irreversibly hurting the campaign in Buffalo, and sending a clear chilling message to its employees across the country,” in the absence of quick temporary relief.

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