NLRB tells Starbucks to reinstate fired workers

Coffee giant must also reopen a shuttered location, stop infringing on workers' rights

NLRB tells Starbucks to reinstate fired workers

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered Starbucks to right the wrongs it has committed against workers at its Buffalo, New York location.

The coffee giant must reinstate seven workers who were fired for their union activity and provide financial restitution for 27 other workers for violations like refusing to grant time off. The order also requires Starbucks to bargain with the union at multiple stores and reopen a location in Cheektowaga, NY, that was closed amid significant union activity.

This comes after the NLRB found that the company violated labor laws "hundreds of times" during a unionization campaign in Buffalo, New York.

Administrative Law Judge Michael Rosas also ordered Starbucks to post a 13-page notice listing its labor violations and workers' rights in all U.S. stores. Starbucks' interim CEO Howard Schultz must also read or be present at a reading of employees' rights and distribute a recording of the reading to all of Starbucks' U.S. employees, CBS News reported, citing the NLRB order. 

Rosas detailed Starbucks' "egregious and widespread misconduct" in his 200-page decision, which consolidated 35 unfair labor practice complaints at 21 Buffalo-area stores filed by Starbucks Workers United.

The company had threatened employees, spied on them and more strictly enforced dress codes and other policies, Rosas said in the decision.

In August 2022, Starbucks Workers United claimed that the Seattle-based company is offering raises, increased training, career development opportunities, expanded tipping and looser dress code policies only to non-union stores.

Also, Starbucks announced it was closing more stores, including two in Kansas City, MO, and Seattle.

However, Starbucks claimed that the remedies ordered are inappropriate, according to the CBS News report. The company is considering its legal options, and it can appeal to the NLRB until March 28.

In October 2022, eight workers at a unionized Starbucks South Carolina branch sued the company and one manager after they claimed to have been falsely accused of criminal conduct when they asked the manager for a salary increase. The workers claimed the manager at the store in Anderson urged police to charge them with assault and kidnapping after they pressed their manager for a raise in August.

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