“Starbucks illegally threatened and terminated staff”: NLRB

National Labour Relations Board has directed Starbucks to immediately compensate the two terminated activists with back pay and offer to reinstate them.


Starbucks, the popular coffee chain, has been found guilty of engaging in unfair labour practices by the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB).

The NLRB, a federal agency responsible for enforcing US labour law, found that the company illegally threatened, interrogated and terminated employees who were in favour of unionisation at one of its Philadelphia locations.

Investigations by a three-member panel of the NLRB found that Starbucks prohibited staff from raising workplace complaints, watched them when they engaged in collective action, and discriminated against those who tried to unionise or support labour groups. The panel ordered the company to refrain from these activities and restore the two terminated activists to their positions with back pay.

Dispute pertaining to workplace activism, which began in 2019, before the launch of the current Starbucks Workers United campaign, has spread to many of the Starbucks cafes across the US. There are many pending complaints against the café chain that allege violation of law. In fact, the firm has been accused of threatening to withdraw healthcare and free tuition benefits from workers if they indulged in unionisation or related activities.

Meanwhile, Starbucks denies all these allegations and says it has been falsely accused.

Reuter reports that Howard Schultz, chief executive, Starbucks has refused to appear in court and testify on the chain’s compliance with federal labour laws.

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