Feb 15, 2023 - Business

Labor board finds Starbucks illegally fired and threatened workers

The glowing mermaid tower at the top of the Starbucks headquarters building in Seattle.

Photo: Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Starbucks broke U.S. labor laws by threatening, interrogating and firing employees who supported unionization efforts in Philadelphia, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled.

The big picture: Union leaders allege that nationwide, Starbucks has repeatedly violated laws protecting workers' rights to organize — charges the Seattle-based coffee giant denies.

Details: The labor board's ruling, which came down late Monday, ordered Starbucks to stop threatening employees for engaging in union activity, as well as to stop telling employees their hours were cut because of their support for a union.

  • The ruling also directs Starbucks to "cease and desist" any bans on employees discussing complaints about management — and to stop surveilling workers with union ties.

Plus: The company was ordered to rehire two fired pro-union activists and award them back pay.

What they're saying: "We disagree with the decision and are considering all options to obtain a full legal review of the matter," Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trull wrote in a statement to Axios yesterday.

What we're watching: The labor board's decision affirms earlier findings by an NLRB judge — but the ruling can still be appealed in U.S. appellate court.

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