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U.S. labor board says Starbucks unlawfully fired seven for union efforts -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: The Starbucks logo is seen outside of one the 8,000 Starbucks American-owned stores. This will mark the beginning of training 175,000 people on tolerance of race in Brooklyn, New York.

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The U.S. National Labor Relations Board has requested a court order that seven of its former employees be reinstated. Starbucks Corp Memphis employees who were fired illegally for exercising the right to form unions, according to NASDAQ.

Kathleen McKinney, NLRB Regional Director in New Orleans filed a lawsuit in Memphis on Tuesday seeking injunctive relief. She claimed that Starbucks had “directed a variety of coercive actions at its employees” after being informed about the organizing effort. The hearing was scheduled for Friday by a judge who heard Wednesday the NLRB petition for a temporary order.

McKinney explained that Starbucks would irreparably damage the Memphis campaign without immediate interim relief from the Court. It could also send a chilling message across the country to its employees about the possibility of them suffering the same fate like the Memphis workers who were fired for exercising their protected activity rights.

Starbucks said on Wednesday it “does not agree that the claims in the filing have merit” and, defending the firing of the workers, said its employees’ right to “organize does not exempt them from adhering to our policies. “We will ensure that all of our partners are subject to the same policies.”

The unions seek to expand on the recent gains made by leading U.S. companies like Starbucks (NASDAQ:) and Amazon (NASDAQ. Workers from more than 50 Starbucks locations in the United States have opted to join Workers United. Five stores, however, voted against it, of approximately 240 who have attempted to hold elections since August.

The NLRB stated that a mail-ballot vote is being conducted at Memphis and will continue until May 24. According to the NLRB, Starbucks responded forcefully to Memphis’ organizing efforts with a series of unfair labor practices that were designed to expel union supporters from the workplace and to quell employee activism both in Memphis and across the country.

On Tuesday, 16 U.S. Senators wrote to Howard Schultz urging him “to stop efforts to undermine unionization campaign occurring at company locations” and support worker-led union efforts throughout the country.

Starbucks requested a meeting last week with President Joe Biden after workers unionized met with him and other White House officials.

Last week, the NLRB regional director in Buffalo, New York filed a complaint describing misconduct allegations against Starbucks towards union members. This is alleged to be in violation of U.S. Labor Law. Starbucks claimed that the complaints are unfounded and without merit.