What’s going on:
A National Labor Relations Board judge has just ruled that Starbucks has committed multiple violations of labor laws in its efforts to prevent a unionization of its Buffalo, New York locations.
As a result, Starbucks must reinstate seven employees that were unjustly dismissed, and provide back pay and damages to roughly two dozen workers whose hours were cut as a means of retribution for their union support.
CEO Howard Schultz has been instructed to personally read or attend a reading of a 10-page notice. In response, Starbucks has stated that it is currently assessing its options for appeal, according to a LinkedIn article.
Why it matters:
This ruling is being hailed as “historic” by the leader of the union organizing Starbucks. Over 280 U.S. locations have successfully unionized since the union’s first victory in Buffalo in 2021, which is impressive because Starbucks currently has over 9,300 corporate-owned locations.
NLRB Administrative Law Judge Michael Rosas condemned Starbucks in his 200+ page ruling for their “egregious and widespread misconduct demonstrating a general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights.”
Rosas concluded that Starbucks had unlawfully punished and discharged staff for taking part in union activity. The company also spied on workers, threatened them, and imposed dress codes and other corporate rules particularly rigorously on members of the union.
How it’ll impact the future:
Starbucks Workers United have celebrated Rosas’ move, with unionists saying that the ruling will bolster their movement in their ongoing pursuit of better pay, steadier work hours, and more satisfactory working conditions.
This ruling may set a precedent for future union issues; employers and organizations might want to take note, as well as study the applicable labor laws.