May 31, 2005 – Unfair labor practice allegations lodged against the worldâ€™s largest coffee retail chain by employees attempting to gain union recognition at a New York City store will be heard by the National Labor Relations Board on June 15.
The complaint alleges that officials with Starbucks created an atmosphere of hostility through surveillance, "interrogation" and threats of wage and lost benefits should employees form a union.
Employees of the Starbucks at Madison and 36th Street in Manhattan filed petition cards to form the Starbucks Barista Union under the banner of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) more than a year ago and are still fighting for official recognition from the company and the NLRB. After initially affirming the right of workers at the store to join a union in July of last year, officials of the federal agency approved an appeal by the company, delaying the election for over a year.
The company petitioned the NLRB on the grounds that it was illegal to organize the company one shop at a time.
Supporters of the unionizing effort say company managers have used a combination of bribery, intimidation and coercion to sway employees from supporting the unrecognized union.