Starbucks demonstrated "egregious" misconduct in union fight, judge rules
Starbucks committed "egregious and widespread misconduct" while trying to stop labor union campaigns, a federal administrative law judge ruled Wednesday.
Driving the news: Following a hearing in an unfair labor practice case filed by a Starbucks union, Judge Michael A. Rosas ordered the company to reinstate seven workers, give backpay and damages compensation, have interim CEO Howard Schultz read a notice to employees and bargain with members.
- The coffee giant showed "a general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights," the judge wrote.
Context: Starbucks Workers United filed more than 30 charges alleging unfair labor practices committed by Starbucks at 21 stores in the Buffalo, New York area.
- The judge found that Starbucks retaliated against employees affiliated with the union when they began a union drive in 2021.
- Since then, 268 of the nearly 9,000 company-owned stores in the U.S. have voted to unionize, per the Washington Post.
Of note: The order comes the same day Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee will vote to subpoena Schultz to testify about the company's "lack of compliance with labor laws."
Zoom out: The National Labor Relations Board has lodged 77 complaints against the company since around 2019 for unfair practices — possibly the most complaints filed by the board against a company in recent history, Axios' Emily Peck writes.
- Starbucks has aggressively tried to fend off unionization, though the company has denied violating labor law and assertions about the anti-union activity.
What's next: The parties have until March 28 to file an appeal.