1. Associates & Employees

Starbucks Baristas Plan Thursday Strike

The Los Angeles Times reports that “unionized Starbucks Corp. baristas plan to hold their biggest strike yet this week, accusing the coffee giant of refusing to fairly negotiate at cafes that voted to organize.

“Thousands of employees at hundreds of sites will mount one-day work stoppages Thursday, according to the union Starbucks Workers United. The strike is pegged to the company’s Red Cup Day, a popular promotional event when Starbucks gives out holiday-themed reusable cups.

“The union says Starbucks has illegally refused to negotiate in good faith over issues including staffing and scheduling that are particularly onerous during such promotions.”

The Times notes that “regional directors of the National Labor Relations Board have issued more than 100 complaints against Starbucks, alleging illegal anti-union tactics including closing stores, firing activists and refusing to fairly negotiate at unionized cafes. At the first two stores to unionize, the agency alleged the company ‘bargained with no intention of reaching agreement.’

“Investigations and appeals in such cases can drag on for years, and the agency lacks authority to issue punitive damages or hold executives personally liable for wrongdoing. So the union has sought to deploy other forms of pressure, including outreach to politicians, customers and students at universities where Starbucks has contracts.

“Also on Thursday, striking workers plan to visit non-union cafes to talk to fellow baristas about joining their efforts.”

Starbucks blames the union for the lack of any collective bargaining agreements, and says that it hopes the union’s “priorities will shift to include the shared success of our partners and working to negotiate union contracts for those they represent.”

KC’s View:

It does not seem reasonable that even after all this time, there’s been little-to-no progress in establishing agreements between Starbucks and the employees who are represented by the union.  Maybe there’s no way to make this happen, but there ought to be a mechanism for forcing the two sides to the table so agreements can be forged.

At the moment, Starbucks is playing the long game, apparently believing that if it delays long enough it can make the union irrelevant.  So much for bargaining in good faith – especially since it is generally agreed that one of the things that compelled the employees to unionize was the fact that top management took its eye of the ball and was too distanced from what was happening in the stores.

The post Starbucks Baristas Plan Thursday Strike appeared first on MNB.

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