Starbucks under fire for refusing to negotiate fairly with workers

According to the NLRB, Starbucks violated labour laws by not participating in collective bargaining sessions if some workers attended through video-conferencing.


Starbucks is again in the news, this time because the company is allegedly violating federal labour laws, as prosecutors from the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) claim that the company refused to negotiate fairly with newly-unionised workers across the country. 

According to Bloomberg News, the general counsel of the NLRB has determined that Starbucks breached labour laws by refusing to engage in collective bargaining sessions if some workers were participating via video-conferencing. 

Workers who have joined the labor union at Starbucks are demanding improved compensation and benefits, enhanced health and safety measures, and protection from unjustified termination and discipline.

A Starbucks union leader from California, Tyler Keeling, has welcomed the recent decision by NLRB, stating that the union now has the right to use a virtual component during bargaining sessions. 

Keeling has also said that this decision is significant as it comes days before former CEO Howard Schultz’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee. Schultz is set to answer questions about the company’s compliance with labour law, after previously resisting requests to appear.

The news that Starbucks has been found in violation of federal labour law is likely to spark concern among its employees, especially as more than 280 out of the company’s roughly 9,000 U.S. locations have already voted to join a labour union since 2021. The company has not yet responded to requests for comment on this issue.

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