Business

Federal complaint seeks to reinstate wrongfully fired Starbucks union organizers, which could lead to baristas nationwide getting their jobs back

Starbucks union supporters protest for Laila Dalton's reinstatement.
Starbucks union supporters protest for Laila Dalton’s reinstatement on April 6.

  • The National Labor Relations Board on Friday filed a complaint against Starbucks stores in New York.
  • It alleged over 29 unfair labor practice charges and 200 violations of the National Labor Relations Act.
  • The NLRB is seeking reinstatement for fired union organizers, which could influence the outcome of similar complaints. 

The National Labor Relations Board on Friday filed a complaint against Starbucks locations in Western New York, asserting more than 29 labor practice charges for union-busting efforts, retaliation, unlawful threats, and surveillance.

“This is one of the largest cases in NLRB history, and confirms what Starbucks partners have been reporting from the front lines for months,” read a statement from Starbucks Workers United. “Starbucks President of North America Rossann Williams led an army of managers — including the 103 listed in the complaint — from around the country into Buffalo to spy, threaten and interfere with workers’ unionizing activity.”

The complaint said Starbucks, facing a wave of unionization efforts, has engaged in a pattern of retaliation against workers in Buffalo-area stores. Among more than 200 alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act, CNBC reported, the complaint claims the coffee giant closed down stores where unionizing gained traction, decreased worker compensation, surveilled and discriminated against unionizing employees, and wrongfully terminated workers. 

Representatives for Starbucks and the NLRB did not immediately return Insider’s requests for comment. 

The complaint seeks reinstatement and backpay to seven employees from the Buffalo region and could have implications for similar complaints nationwide. Seven employees in Memphis, Tennessee, said they were wrongfully terminated earlier this year, while employees at a Starbucks in Phoenix, Arizona, filed a similar NLRB complaint in January for retaliation and wrongful termination at their store.

“Starbucks is finally being held accountable for the union-busting rampage they went on,” Danny Rojas, a fired shift supervisor, said in a statement. “Starbucks needs to understand that it is morally corrupt to retaliate against union leaders, and I am looking forward to the NLRB forcing Starbucks to make this moment right.”

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