Feds accuse Starbucks of unfair labor practices in Buffalo

BUFFALO, New York – Federal labor officials on Friday filed a sweeping complaint accusing Starbucks of unfair labor practices at its Buffalo, New York, stores, including retaliation against pro-union employees.

The regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Buffalo outlined a series of labor law violations in a request for reinstatement and back pay for the employees.

There has been a wave of union campaigns at Starbucks stores nationwide, with the first union votes falling in December at three Buffalo stores.

The coffee chain called the allegations “false” and vowed to fight them at an upcoming hearing.

“Starbucks does not agree that the allegations are substantiated and the issuance of the complaint does not constitute a finding by the NLRB,” spokesman Reggie Borges wrote in an email. “It is the beginning of a legal process that allows both sides to be heard and to present evidence.”

Starbucks Workers United, the group behind the union effort, said the complaint “confirmed the scale and depravity of Starbucks’ conduct in western New York for the better part of a year.”


“Starbucks is finally being blamed for the anti-union killing spree,” Danny Rojas, a fired shift supervisor, said in a statement. “Starbucks needs to understand that taking revenge on union leaders is morally corrupt, and I look forward to the NLRB forcing Starbucks to get this moment right.”

Last month, federal labor officials asked a judge to force Starbucks to reinstate three union activists at its Phoenix location, accusing the coffee giant of being involved in unfair labor practices.

As of this week, workers at more than 250 US stores have petitioned the employment agency to hold union elections, union organizers say. At least 50 of those stores have voted to organize with Workers United, a branch of the Service Employees International Union.


Starbucks reported Tuesday that its sales rose to record levels in the fiscal second quarter, but noted that it faces higher employment costs that are likely to rise even further in the coming months as the company rolls out new pay rises and other benefits.

However, workers who voted to form a union or businesses that requested union elections are not eligible for these additional pay rises and benefits.

Starbucks Workers United said it filed charges against Starbucks with the unemployment office on Tuesday. The group accuses the company of violating labor laws by threatening to bar unionized stores from receiving the new benefits.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Feds accuse Starbucks of unfair labor practices in Buffalo

Justin Scacco

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