The US Workers United trade union has filed 47 new federal unfair labour practice charges against US coffeehouse company Starbucks

The move follows a failure by Starbucks to keep up its pledge stated on 8 December 2023.  

The company had claimed a sincere desire to improve relations with the almost 10,000 workers who have been organising across 400 stores for more than two years. 

Most of the charges, which include allegations of illegal firings and withholding benefits from union workers, are ongoing or took place after the company’s public commitment to improve labour practices. 

Charges include prohibiting union workers from participating in the North American Barista Championship, where winners receive paid time off and a trip to a Starbucks-owned estate in Costa Rica.  

Starbucks also reportedly gave higher raises to non-union store workers in January 2024 and offered new benefits, such as faster vacation accrual and credit score improvement programmes, exclusively to non-union employees. 

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By GlobalData

Following a successful union vote in Providence, workers were allegedly told to remove union T-shirts or face being sent home, leading to a store closure for the day.  

The company also reportedly terminated 17 employees for union involvement, with five dismissals occurring after the company’s 8 December statement. 

Further charges against the company include punitive measures for wearing union pins, unfair discipline, threats of police action, refusal of disability accommodations and intimidation tactics against workers supporting the union. 

The National Labor Relations Board has already issued more than 120 complaints against Starbucks for its union-busting tactics. 

In January 2024, the US National Consumers League initiated legal action against Starbucks, challenging the coffee giant’s claims of “100% ethical” sourcing for its coffee and tea products.