Starbucks Loses Bid to Delay Union Election Count Again as It Cuts Worker Hours

The labor board has denied another Starbucks bid to delay union ballot counts as workers say that the company has started slashing hours without prior warning, endangering employees’ finances.

The National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB), ruled in favor of the company’s argumentUnion elections should be held regionally rather than store-by–store. This means that ballots for three Buffalo stores will soon be counted. In February, the NLRB formally rejected Starbucks’s argument, which the company has used in every location’s election so far, setting a precedent against its validity.

Workers have filed for unionization over 110 locations so farThree stores voted in favor of forming a union. Starbucks seems to be becoming bolder in its union-busting efforts as the campaign gains momentum. Monday, Starbucks Workers United wrote that the company is cutting hours across the board in order to disrupt workers’ lives.

“Starbucks is slashing our hours nationally for no good reason. As our union campaign has spread, so has Starbucks’ manipulation of our schedules,” the union wrote in a Twitter thread. “This underscores more than ever the need for a union, to ensure that we can have a voice in these decisions.”

Starbucks is cutting hours, despite its record profits. Its 2021 fourth quarterNet revenues increased 31 percent over the prior year, while sales rose 20 percent over the whole year.

The union highlighted that workers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, rely on steady hours to pay for essentials and to qualify for the company’s health insurance program. To maintain health insurance, employees must workminimum 520 hours per 6 month period or around 20 hours per week. Cutting hours knowing that employees rely on the job to survive is “immoral,” the union said.

“Instead of cutting our hours, we suggest Starbucks cut their relationship with their union busting law firm, Littler Mendelson,” Starbucks Workers United wrote. The union closed its Twitter thread by asking employees using the hashtag #WhyWeOrganize for their stories about union busting and other hardships suffered by the company. It has been also asked workers to email the union if they’ve had their hours cut.

Employees flooded the hashtag with stories, detailing how they aren’t averaging enough hoursFor health insurance qualification and how they’ve recently had their hours cut. Others shared their stories. management acting callously toward workersPeople who have been subject to workplace abuse. unsafe working conditionsOr personal tragedies.

The company has been firing employees who are organizing. Recently, Starbucks firedBuffalo organizer Danny Rojas, an employee, was allegedly late for the 5:30 am shift. In a leaked video, Rojas told their manager, “respectfully, this wouldn’t be happening if I wasn’t part of the organizing committee.”

When other employees are late or don’t follow dress code, Rojas pointed out, they are not necessarily disciplined for it. Rojas explained that they were late for their shift because they work a closing shift at Trader Joes, and have no time to go home to sleep before their shift at a Starbucks shop 30 minutes away. The company previously denied Rojas’s request to transfer to a more convenient location.

Rojas is just one of many union employees who were fired or punished by the company. Workers are saying that the company is retaliating against pro-union employees by telling them that they may have to quit or be fired if they aren’t able to increase their available hours for work. Cassie Fleischer, another Buffalo organizer, was recently fired by the company. even liedFleischer resigned. Fleischer, however, was fired without the knowledge of the company.

The company also closed recently Seven union organizersMemphis, Tennessee. According to the union, the workers fired comprised the entire organizing committee at the location. The company claims that the organizers were violating company policies, but workers said that some of the policies cited for their termination didn’t exist or had never been enforced.