Starbucks requests the labor board to halt union elections using mail-in ballots due to alleged voting irregularities

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Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by Bitfinsider

Starbucks has asked the federal labor board to halt all mail-in vote union elections countrywide due to alleged voting irregularities by both the union representing its baristas and board employees.

The Seattle-based coffee company claimed in a letter to the chairman and general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board on Monday that labor board representatives behaved improperly during a Kansas City-area election and have probably done so in previous elections. Starbucks mentioned a career NLRB employee who came forward to the corporation as a tip-off.

According to an NLRB count as of Friday, more than 220 Starbucks caf├ęs in the U.S. have chosen to unionize. Seven other establishments are waiting to schedule elections while a total of 34 more elections have either been ordered or are currently being held.

CNBC’s inquiries for comments to Starbucks Workers United and the NLRB were not immediately answered.

Starbucks is seeking that all future elections be held in person while the allegations are looked into, in addition to asking that any upcoming mail-in elections be suspended.

Starbucks claims that NLRB officials worked with union representatives to set up in-person voting at the labor board’s offices during elections involving mail-in ballots. The business further asserts that Workers United representatives were provided with private, up-to-the-minute information about specific vote counts so the union could target workers who hadn’t yet cast their ballots. The corporation claimed that Workers United and NLRB representatives then worked together to conceal this activities.

Starbucks’ letter describes purported email exchanges between labor board representatives and union representatives. The business claimed that the whistleblower alerted it of the emails’ contents.

According to Starbucks, similar conduct was seen during the elections in Seattle and Buffalo, New York.

Starbucks has become more vehemently hostile to unionization efforts at its outlets under interim CEO Howard Schultz. Although only a small part of Starbucks’ almost 9,000 corporate-owned cafes are currently unionized, the coffee giant has been attempting to slow the union’s growth.

For instance, the firm announced a fresh round of pay increases for tenured employees in May, but excluded locations that were unionized, stating that those areas would need to go through the negotiation process. Workers United formally requested the firm to extend the salary increases to those locations earlier this month.

According to the NLRB, Starbucks is also dealing with 284 allegations of unfair labor practices from the union. Organizers have allegedly been fired illegally by the firm, locations have been closed, or staff have been subjected to harassment in an effort to prevent baristas from organizing. Starbucks has refuted every allegation of labor violations.

The business reported two of its own union organizers to the labor board in Phoenix and Denver. The Phoenix suit was rejected by the NLRB because there wasn’t enough proof that the pro-union employees had harassed other workers and customers during a rally.


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author, or any people mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice. Investing in or trading cryptocurrency or stocks comes with a risk of financial loss.

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