Oct 13, 2022 - Economy & Business

Starbucks illegally fired pro-union employees, labor board judge says

A protester waves a sign at a Starbucks store where dozens of employees and union supporters protested alleged anti-union tactics by the company on March 3. Photo: Jill Toyoshiba/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled Wednesday that Starbucks violated federal law in Kansas and Missouri when it fired pro-union employees and asked police to disperse workers with picket signs.

Why it matters: It's the latest of several cases involving Starbucks and the union, Starbucks Workers United — which has alleged over 80 staff members were fired due to their activism and accused the coffee giant of illegally interfering with workers' rights, per Bloomberg. Starbucks denies the claims.

Driving the news: In the latest case, Starbucks was also accused of increasing enforcement of its dress code policy in response to the union organizing.

  • The NLRB judge's ruling states that "having discriminatorily discharged" the staff members, Starbucks must offer them reinstatement, reimburse "any loss of earnings and other benefits" and not make any anti-union threats.

What we're watching: NLRB judges' orders can be appealed.

What they're saying: Starbucks has said that allegations that the firm has conducted anti-union activity are "categorically false," Bloomberg notes.

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