Starbucks Cited for Worker Violations

by Chris Sturr | May 01, 2009

From the Starbucks Workers Union (happy May Day!)

Yet Another Federal Labor Complaint Against Starbucks, Emblematic of a Company in Decline

17-count Charge Latest in a String of Setbacks for Brand

Minneapolis– The Starbucks Workers Union announced today that the National Labor Relations Board has found merit with 17 counts of labor rights violations at Starbucks in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The fresh charges come on the heels of a “guilty” verdict in New York Federal Court on nearly 30 similar charges last December. Once seen as a paragon of social responsibility and entrepreneurial innovation, the coffee giant’s image has recently been tarnished with mounting evidence of rampant labor violations, on top of sliding profits, increased market competition, and declining consumer demand.

Mall of America Starbucks barista Erik Forman commented, “Since the recession began, Starbucks has been slashing benefits, laying off workers, reducing hours, and increasing the workload on Baristas in a quixotic effort to maintain boom-era profitability. As our standard of living comes under attack, the need for a union has never been greater. Starbucks must respect our right to association.”

The charges stem from an Unfair Labor Practice charge filed by the Starbucks Workers Union in January alleging a wide range of violations, from forbidding workers from discussion the union to kicking union sympathizers out of stores.

Background
Since the launch of the IWW campaign at Starbucks on May 17, 2004, the company has been cited multiple times for illegal union-busting by the National Labor Relations Board. The company settled two complaints against it and was recently found guilty by a federal judge in New York of nearly 30 rights’ violations. Starbucks’ large anti-union operation is carried out in conjunction with the Akin Gump law firm and the Edelman public relations firm.

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is a grassroots organization of over 300 current and former employees at the world’s largest coffee chain united for secure work hours and a living wage. The union has members throughout the United States fighting for systemic change at the company and remedying individual grievances with management.

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