NLRB files complaint against Pittsburgh-area Starbucks accused of bullying workers

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The National Labor Relations Board has filed a 19-page complaint against Starbucks over a “myriad of threats” managers allegedly made to Pittsburgh-area organizers.

According to the Starbucks Workers United union, the management of a number of local stores sought to intimidate workers and dissuade them from joining a union.

A list of violations listed in a press release says it includes threats that workers would be fired, lose benefits, miss out on promised raises or face other disciplinary action. In the case of the Craig Street location in Oakland, workers were reportedly told that the store could close if employees unionized there.

The filing follows a series of complaints from local workers who say they were illegally fired for their organizing efforts. Across the country, many union rights activists say the coffee company is pursuing a “scorched earth policy”.

Pittsburgh has seen an inordinate share of the company’s latent organizing movement, which began in Buffalo last December and has since swept through more than 300 stores nationwide, including at least 14 in Allegheny County.

None of the unionized branches has yet obtained a contract.

Local organizers say the labor board filing justifies their public complaints of retaliation against union organizers.

“News of these charges in Pittsburgh finally being filed against Starbucks is incredibly empowering for all workers here. We have suffered from their anti-union campaign for the better part of a year now,” said Jacob Welsh, a Pittsburgh worker. Starbucks. in a report.

“We have many workers who are being lied to, abused, threatened, bribed or fired, and it is heartening to see that the NLRB has decided to take legal action regarding Starbucks’ behavior in Steel Town.”

Starbucks recently accused the labor board of siding with union organizers rather than acting as a neutral facilitator in negotiations. In a scathing Aug. 15 letter to the board’s national headquarters, Starbucks attorneys accuse the Kansas City labor board representative of “engaging.”[ing] in highly inappropriate systemic misconduct involving Starbucks and Workers United. »

Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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