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Starbucks sued by labor board

NEW YORK (Transatlantic Today) – Starbucks is being asked by the National Labor Relations Board to stop obstructing unionization attempts at its American outlets. 

Since December, after a location in Buffalo, New York, became the coffee chain’s first unionized branch in decades, the board has sued Starbucks three times in federal court. Since then, at least 151 U.S. outlets have voted to unionize, and more than 289 have petitioned the NLRB to conduct union elections. 

Starbucks opposes the unionization effort, claiming that working directly with employees improves the efficiency of company operations. 

According to ABC NEWS, the petition was sent to the western New York U.S. District Court on Tuesday by the NLRB’s regional director in Buffalo, New York. It requests that the court compel Starbucks to reinstate 7 employees from Buffalo who it claims were wrongfully dismissed for attempting to organize a union. Additionally, it tries to compel Starbucks to negotiate with a store whose union election Starbucks is accused of tainting through persistent anti-union action. 

But more widely, the petition requests the court to force Starbucks to stop engaging in a number of actions at all of its U.S. locations, such as threatening workers who support unionization with retaliation, providing perks to non-union stores, closing down stores either permanent or temporary, and refusing to negotiate with stores which have voted to unionize. 

A Starbucks location in Ithaca, New York, which had voted to unionize, will be permanently closed, the company said earlier this month. The corporation, according to retail staff, is taking action in retaliation for their labor involvement. Starbucks, which has 9,000 outlets across the U.S., claimed it constantly opens and closes outlets and bases its decisions on staffing issues and other issues with the particular site. 

The NLRB said in its petition that Starbucks broke many labor laws in Buffalo, including monitoring employee talks on their headsets to learn about unionization efforts, promised greater salaries and benefits if they resisted joining a union, and questioning workers for donning union pins. 

Starbucks Corp., located in Seattle, was contacted for comment on Tuesday.

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