Prosecutors from the Labor Board have found that seven union organizers were fired by Starbucks. In the past, it was a job. a unionizing store in Memphis, Tennessee, backing up the union’s claims that the terminations were clearly unlawful.
According to BloombergThe labor board plans to file a formal complaint against the company regarding the firing of workers unless the company settles. The workers — dubbed the “Memphis Seven” by the union — represented nearly the entire organizing committee at the store. Starbucks fired them in February after they were accused of violating company policies. These included the dress code and rules against entering the backroom while working.
At the time, Starbucks Workers United said that the firings were Starbucks’s “most blatant act of union-busting yet.” The company cited “policies that have never been enforced” to fire the workers, the union said, claiming in a complaint filed after the terminations that the company was illegally retaliating against the workers for organizing.
“I’m hoping Howard Schultz is a smart man and he settles, but from the union-busting tactics that have continued, I don’t think he’s going to,” Nikki Taylor, one of the fired workers, told Bloomberg. “We’re going to win either way.”
Employers may not take actions to retaliate for workers who are members of unions, such as termination, surveillance, or any other form of punishment. It is a violation federal labor laws. The consequence for illegally terminating a worker, which is incredibly common in union-busting campaigns, is usually very light — typically, the company simply has to rehire the worker and compensate them for lost pay, which is just the normal cost of operation for the employer.
Even if the labor board finds that an employer has illegally retaliated against workers, these cases can take months to resolve. Fireing pro-union workers is often a cost-effective way for companies to go bust.
The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo is hoping to speed up the litigation process in order to bring more immediate relief to workers who have been on the receiving end of illegal retaliation, Bloomberg reported.
The company has been intensifying its anti-union campaign, firing many workers since the first sweep by the Memphis organizers. The company reportedly fired a lot of workers this weekend. fired Sharon Gilman, a Raleigh, North Carolina pro-union worker, and a North Carolina State University student.
Gilman was washing dishes when a water pipe fell on her. The company has lied about its reasons for terminating pro-union workers before, claimed that Gilman purposefully broke the sink — but Gilman and the union believe that she was fired for her support of the union.
As Howard Schultz retakes the helm at the company, Starbucks’s union-busting campaign may escalate even further. Schultz has been Openly anti-union in recent events, and last week said in a town hall that companies like Starbucks are “being assaulted in many ways by the threat of unionization.”
In a recent Q&A with workers in Long Beach, California, Schultz snapped at a pro-union worker. When union organizer Madison Hall questioned Schultz’s claims that he isn’t anti-union, Schultz said, “If you hate Starbucks so much, why don’t you go somewhere else?”
Despite fierce opposition from the company, the union has been an incredible success so far. Starbucks Workers United won union elections in all three Ithaca stores on Friday. This makes Ithaca the first city in which all Starbucks locations have been unionized. Sixteen stores are now unionized successfully, and the union was formed recently. Attained a milestone of200 union filings in the country