After a slew of Starbucks locations began union organization talks, the company is accusing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) of misconduct.
The NLRB, which oversees union elections at Starbucks locations, is now being asked to pause their elections until the investigation is completed.
Since last year, employees at 216 Starbucks locations have voted to join the union, while 46 locations voted against unionization. With the latest accusation of misconduct, Starbucks is able to delay elections, making it more difficult for workers to succeed and maintain momentum.
“It’s immaterial whether these charges are true or not. The victory is delay,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy.
However, Workers United is claiming that the coffee chains’ move is the “latest attempt to manipulate the legal process for their own means and prevent workers from exercising their fundamental right to organize.”
“The regional staff – and, ultimately, the Board – will carefully and objectively consider any challenges raised through these established channels,” said Kayla Blado, a spokesperson for the NLRB.
Unionization efforts have spiked in recent months, with employees at retailers like Amazon and Trader Joe’s looking towards organizing.
Workers’ rights have come to the forefront of discussion after the pandemic uprooted how professionals approached their relationship with their employer. In fact, interest in unionization petitions filed at the NLRB grew 57% during October of 2021 to March of 2022 from the same time last year after years of declines.