The NLRB Accelerates Their Agenda Against Starbucks

by | Jun 22, 2023 | Bargaining/Negotiations, NLRB, SEIU, Unions

The NLRB’s strong-arm tactics continue against the coffeehouse giant after General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo launched a full-court press by the NLRB to shore up Starbucks Workers United/SEIU. This ultimately serves the Biden agenda of increasing union membership despite the best interests of workers themselves.

Previously, this involved the Board accusing Starbucks of refusing to negotiate with unionized cafes, even as the company insisted that it bargained in “good faith” for 75 sessions in 2022. More recently, the board has taken to shutting down the budding trend of Starbucks decertification petitions due to complicated filing rules.

This month, however, the NLRB scrapped another decertification petition that met those filing rules involving a Buffalo cafe that happened to be one of the first to organize. An NLRB regional director cited unfair labor charges filed by Workers United as a reason to dismiss the petition. It doesn’t take a stretch to realize that unions can game this system by filing ULP charges as a decertification prevention measure.

The regional director also cited General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s plan to pursue a Mar Jac remedy, extending the one year period before workers can file for decertification based on those ULP charges.

In response, a Starbucks barista asked the NLRB to review the regional director’s order, but one shouldn’t hold their breath on a reversal from Biden’s board.

This month, the NLRB also upheld an administrative law judge’s sanctions against Starbucks for allegedly illegally firing union activists and issuing 20 subpoenas regarding the Board’s pursuit of a 10(j) injunction against the company in Wisconsin. The judge ruled that the company must withdraw most of the subpoenas (involving union leaders’ conversations with reporters). In other words, the NLRB punishes a company for daring to defend itself.

Starbucks Workers United has also been raising a social media ruckus in a few ways:

(1) Claiming that Instagram unduly blocked their account and using the resulting attention to demand Starbucks acquiesce to contract demands;

(2) Alleging that Starbucks banned Pride displays, a move designed to drum up a backlash against the company. This accusation led to Starbucks’ strenuous denial, citing their history of “unwaveringly support[ing]” LGBTQ+ workers. That support includes health insurance benefits for employees’ same-sex partners and more.

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