Union claims Starbucks illegally closed coffee shop in retaliation, Bloomberg reports

A pro-union poster is seen on a lamppost outside Starbucks’ Broadway and Denny’s location in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle on March 22, 2022.

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Confederation of workers in Starbucks is announcing that the coffee chain is closing an organized cafe recently in retaliation for the efforts of activists.

It is the latest escalation between the fast-growing national labor movement and the coffee giant.

United Workers, the union that supports organizing efforts at Starbucks, said in a filing with the National Labor Relations Board Friday that Starbucks is violating federal labor law by shutting down permanently. a store in Ithaca, New York. The group alleges that it was in retaliation for the employees at this location Vote for unification in April.

The employees of the Ithica store said they initially went on strike because of unsafe working conditions on April 16. The workers left due to a waste emergency caused by overflow grease traps, according to the statement. of the union. In an email to the union’s bargaining committee, Starbucks cited the grease trap as the reason for the store’s closure.

The union commission alleges that Starbucks closed the store in retaliation for activity covered by federal labor laws and to prevent workers elsewhere from organizing. “It is a clear attempt to frighten workers across the country by retaliating against its own employees,” the commission said in a statement.

Starbucks says it opens and closes stores “as a regular part” of its operations. “Our goal is to ensure that every partner is supported in their unique circumstances and that we have an immediate opportunity in the market,” a Starbucks spokesperson said in an email to CNBC.

The union is asking the agency to seek a federal court order to quickly prevent or reverse the store closures.

About 100 Starbucks cafes voted to unionize under Workers, while only 14 voting locations opposed the union. United workers announced this week that they are creating a 1 million dollar fund to cover lost wages for the bartenders who went on strike.

United workers have filed at least 175 complaints against the coffee chain about unfair labor practices, CNBC previously reported. Starbucks has denied wrongdoing.

The workers’ union statements were first reported by Bloomberg News.

– Amelia Lucas of CNBC contributed to this report.

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