Starbucks is one of the largest corporations currently fighting its employees’ bid to join the union. Obviously, New York State is a hotbed for this issue because the two stores in Buffalo were the first company-owned stores to go union. New York City also features several high-profile locations well, but votes are also happening in other parts of the country.
The coffee giant recently sent a letter to the Nation Labor Relations Board, asking it to suspend union elections temporarily. It claims that an NLRB employee told the company about several irregularities in the NLRB St. Louis field office when overseeing the Overland Park vote in Kansas earlier this year. The actions included allowing employees to vote in person at the NLRB office in St. Louis despite a pre-agreed arrangement to use mail-in ballots. The NLRB also provided real-time results of the vote count to the union.
Starbucks claims that these actions amount to unfair practices. The company also requested that future votes occur in person, with representatives from both sides observing the vote to confirm its validity.
The NLRB is supposed to ensure fair elections and provide impartial oversight of the voting. It claims that some workers didn’t receive their ballots by mail. It also pointed out that there is a well-established practice for those who dispute election results or unfair labor practices cases.
As of August 15, 2022, 314 locations petitioned the NLRB to hold votes since late 2021. This led to more than 220 stores voting to unionize. Nevertheless, the company continues to fight unionization, taking such punitive actions as firing 75 employees across the country who were union organizers. All told, unionization received 82% of the vote.
Many Starbucks retail staff believe that the union represents their interests. Those looking to organize their Starbucks (or another workplace) can seek guidance from lawyers who focus on union representation. They can protect workers’ rights as they throughout the voting process.