Labor Board Charges Starbucks with Multiple Violations

Sun, 03/06/2005 - 4:21pm -- webadmin

Coffee Giant Discriminates Against Union Employees

New York, NY- The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against Starbucks alleging that the company has been, “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed [by federal labor law].” The NLRB further alleges that Starbucks has been unlawfully discriminating against pro-union employees to discourage unionization. The complaint comes as a result of a well-documented unfair labor practice charge filed by the Starbucks Workers Union (IWW I.U.660).

“The Board correctly concluded that Starbucks’ vigorous anti-union bias includes widespread unlawful activity,” said the Union’s attorney, Stuart Lichten of Kennedy, Schwartz, and Cure.

“Chairman Howard Schultz tells the world that Starbucks respects its employees but in fact the company systematically violates workers’ rights,” added Daniel Gross, a Starbucks worker and IWW member.

According to the government complaint, seven Starbucks officials have broken the law in the course of the union-busting campaign. In a clear sign that Starbucks has a corporate-wide anti-union policy, the complaint names Starbucks Senior Vice President Martin Annesse, the executive in charge of the company’s vast Northeast operations, as one of those who engaged in anti-union intimidation. Also named are: Alex Perez, Regional Director of Operations; Vito Bozzi, District Manager; Candace Nunnally, District Manager; Fabian Vera, Store Manager; Samuel Jones, Assistant Store Manager; and Julian Warner, Assistant Store Manager.

“This is obviously not a case of a few bad apples,” stated Anthony Polanco, a union employee at Starbucks. “Starbucks Coffee Company is rotten to its core.”

The NLRB complaint includes the following allegations. Starbucks:

  • Created an impression of surveillance among employees to deter them from supporting the Union.
  • Threatened employees with loss of wages and benefits if they supported the Union.
  • Interrogated employees about their support for the Union.
  • Promised to promote pro-Union employees if they agreed to withdraw their support for the Union.
  • Discriminatorily refused to allow employees to wear pro-Union buttons.
  • Provided baseball tickets and gym passes among other things in order to convince employees to withdraw support for the Union.

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union calls on the company to cease its fierce anti-union activities and enter into a neutrality agreement. Starbucks should implement a zero-tolerance policy for violating the rights of café workers, roasting plant employees, or coffee farmers. In that light, the Union demands that Starbucks terminate the wrongdoers including Senior Vice President Martin Annesse.