Listen to this article here
The National Labor Relations Board will prosecute Starbucks for labor law violations after the company retaliated against workers seeking to unionize in stores around the Oklahoma City metro.
A Starbucks store at 132 NW 23rd St. in OKC became the first in the state to unionize last year. Since then, employees with Starbucks Workers United have filed a series of complaints alleging union-busting violations, the Oklahoman reported on Wednesday.
Region 14 of the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency, received complaints from employees at four Starbucks locations in the state, including two stores in OKC, one in Nichols Hills and one in Norman.
“We are pleased that the NLRB has found merit in virtually every (unfair labor practice) charge we filed, further showing that Starbucks has been anything but ‘progressive’ toward workers who want a say in their workplace,” said Collin Pollitt, an Oklahoma City barista and Starbucks Workers United organizer, according to the Oklahoman.
Despite Republicans’ assertions that Oklahoma’s “Right to Work” laws protect employees, Starbucks’ efforts to disrupt unionization efforts nationally and locally have contradicted that idea.
NLRB takes Starbucks to court
The NLRB will pursue civil prosecution against the national chain, with a hearing set for April 11 in Austin, Texas, in front of an administrative law judge.
Specifically, the agency is accusing Starbucks of the following violations:
- Interrogating workers about union activity.
- Threatening loss of pay raises and benefits if employees unionized.
- Promising increased benefits and improved workplace conditions if employees did not partake in unionization.
- Threatening disciplinary action if employees posted union materials inside the stores.
- Selectively enforcing strict policies on pro-union employees.
- Firing barista Avery Norman for participating in union activity.
The upcoming hearing comes after U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) held a hearing on March 8, as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP.)
Titled, “Defending the Right of Workers to Organize,” Sanders clapped back at attempts from CEOs to disrupt union organizing. Unapologetically, Sanders called out Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz by name, and issued a subpoena, forcing Schultz to testify in front of the Senate on March 29.
“To ask him why he thought his company could violate federal labor laws,” Sanders said at the launch of the March 8 hearing.
Across the nation, Starbucks has been accused of terminating over 100 union organizers and shut down several stores with union activity.