Federal labor officials accuse Starbucks of unfair labor practices at its Buffalo, New York stores, including retaliation against pro-union employees
BUFFALO, NY — Federal labor officials filed a sweeping lawsuit Friday accusing Starbucks of unfair labor practices at its Buffalo, New York, stores, including retaliation against pro-union employees.
The Buffalo regional director of the National Labor Relations Board described a host of labor law violations in a filing seeking reinstatement and back wages for employees.
There has been a wave of organizing drives at Starbucks stores nationwide, with the first union votes taking place in December at three Buffalo stores.
The coffee chain called the allegations “false” and pledged to fight them at an upcoming hearing.
“Starbucks disagrees that the complaints have merit, and the issuance of the complaint does not constitute a finding of the NLRB,” spokesman Reggie Borges wrote in an email. “It’s the start of a legal process that allows both parties to be heard and present evidence.”
Starbucks Workers United, the group behind the organizing effort, said the complaint “confirms the extent and depravity of Starbucks’ conduct in Western New York for much of the year. “.
“Starbucks is finally being held accountable for the anti-union rampage they have committed,” Danny Rojas, a fired shift supervisor, said in a statement. “Starbucks needs to understand that it is morally corrupt to retaliate against union leaders, and I look forward to the NLRB forcing Starbucks to fix this moment.”
Last month, federal labor officials asked a judge to force Starbucks to reinstate three union activists at its Phoenix site, alleging the coffee giant engaged in unfair labor practices.
Starbucks on Tuesday reported sales hit record highs in its second fiscal quarter, but noted it faces higher labor costs, which are expected to rise further in the coming months as as the company introduces new salary increases and other benefits.
Starbucks Workers United said it filed a labor board complaint against Starbucks on Tuesday. The group alleges that the company is violating labor laws by threatening to exclude unionized stores from receiving the new benefits.