The National Labor Council has sued Starbucks for allegedly retaliating against three employees involved in the union.
One employee was disciplined, dismissed and fired; another was “constructively fired” and a third was sent on unpaid leave after the company revoked “recently provided housing”, NLRB said in a press release.
Cornell Overstreet, director of the Phoenix-based NLRB region, on Friday asked the U.S. District Court to immediately reinstate employees with their usual schedule and housing, among other requests.
“Employees have a fundamental right to choose whether they want to be represented by unions without restrictions or coercion by employers,” the Overstreet said in a statement.
“The faith of Starbucks employees across the country in democracy in the workplace will not be restored unless those employees are immediately restored to work under federal court protection,” he added.
In a statement, NPR Starbucks said it “totally disagrees[s]”With the requirements of the Labor Office in the lawsuit.
“These partners were terminated because they violated our established policy. In some cases, they also violated state law, ”a Starbucks spokesman said. “Partners’ interest in union representation does not exempt them from the standards we have set to protect the partners, customers and communities we serve.” Starbucks calls its employees “partners.”
The company said it also filed two allegations of unfair labor practices against the Workers United union to “protect the physical safety and emotional well-being” of employees and customers.
Starbucks said it also wants to “make it clear that the intimidation, bullying and harassment we see from some union organizers is unacceptable.”
For its part, Workers United says it has filed 80 of its allegations of unfair labor practices against Starbucks across the country. “The truth is that Starbucks is grabbing a straw as they launch an unprecedented and aggressive anti-union campaign against workers, including firing more than 19 union leaders across the country,” a union spokesman said in a statement.
Twenty-eight Starbucks stores across the country voted to create a union of 31 stores that voted, Workers United says. More than 220 people in 31 states have called for union elections.