At least at one point in Starbucks’s anti-union campaign, the company’s upper management maintained a list of pro-union employees that they encouraged managers to seek out and punish, newly unveiled testimony from a former Starbucks manager reveals.
David Almond, a former manager of several Starbucks stores in Buffalo, stated in testimony under oathIn August, he was told by Starbucks’ higher-ups that certain workers were pro-union and to go through their records to find an issue that is not union.
The shocking revelation was first reported in Bloomberg, who had obtained a copy of a transcript of Almond’s testimony through a Freedom of Information Act request. The testimony was recorded at a National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB), hearing that was presided over by a labor court judge.
Managers would sift through the list together to find seemingly minor infractions, Almond said, such as wearing purple pants, for which to punish workers or “partners,” as the company calls them. They avoided issues that were union-related, as they could avoid legal trouble or deflect from the underlying goal of union busting.
Almond was asked by a district manager if a pro-union employee had committed any infractions.
“She said go through her files,” Almond testified, as Bloomberg reported. “She’s a long-term partner. I’m sure there’s something in there we can use against her.”
Almond was told by another corporate employee that he should follow a store worker who appeared to be pro union and rewrite schedules to ensure there was always a manager at their store. “She said, this way, the partners won’t feel comfortable talking about the union, and if they do, then you should discourage them,” said Almond.
Almond said that he resigned in January citing the company’s anti-union tactics, which he said were likely illegal.
A spokesperson for the company said that if Almond was told by the company to punish pro-union workers, the company was not aware.
Federal labor laws make it illegal to punish workers for union activity. In the last year, NLRB officials discovered multiple cases of illegal union busting activity by this company. This includes forOfficials claim that the retaliation was illegal against union organizers in Phoenix (Arizona). elsewhere.
Starbucks Workers United says Almond’s testimony reflects a seeming policy that Starbucks has implemented nationwide. “This is what the company has directed managers to do across the country,” the union wrote on Tuesday. “We immensely appreciate David Almond’s bravery for speaking out.”
Almond’s testimony lines up with what union organizers who have faced reprimands or have been fired by the company say about their punishments. The union has filed complaints against the company regarding the firing of more than 80 union supporters.
They claim that the company used spurious reasons to fire pro-union workers. One Buffalo worker was fired being late onceShe stated that the store was scheduled to reopen on the same day as it had closed. Memphis workers were ForgottenAccording to the union, these are policies that have never been enforced before.
2 more union leaders fired – Michael Sanabria and Cole Graziano. For terrible reasons Transit Commons Starbucks in Buffalo is on strike today. Three other stores are also on strike. Shame. pic.twitter.com/dzDGcr4B3B
— Richard Bensinger (@RichBensinger1) October 12, 2022
Recently, Buffalo Will Westlake is a union organizerAccording to Westlake, he was fired because he refused to stop wearing the suicide awareness pin to work. His managers sent him home for four consecutive month. Westlake said that he wore the pin, which read “You are not alone,” to honor a coworker who had died by suicide earlier this year. Managers fired him because he was not present and he didn’t follow dress code.