NLRB Dismisses Starbucks Charge Against Union Organizers

The coffee chain had alleged that pro-union workers blocked store entrances and intimidated customers.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The National Labor Relations Board has dismissed a charge Starbucks filed against union organizers in Phoenix, saying there was not enough evidence that pro-union workers blocked store entrances or intimidated customers during a spring rally.

Seattle-based Starbucks filed the charge with the labor board in April. The company contended that pro-union workers violated U.S. labor law by threatening workers and customers a Phoenix Starbucks store.

The company claimed workers blocked the store's entrances, made threats, yelled profanities and pounded on the store’s windows.

But in a letter to the company late last week, the regional director of the NLRB in Phoenix, Cornele Overstreet, dismissed the charge. Overstreet said his investigation showed that demonstrators remained on the sidewalk and didn’t touch any employees, customers or vehicles.

Starbucks said Monday it will appeal.

“We disagree the NLRB’s ruling and will appeal as we continue our efforts to protect our partners and allow for their voice to be heard,” the company said in a statement.

The charge was one of just two that Starbucks has filed against Workers United since the union began organizing U.S. Starbucks stores late last year, according to the NLRB. By contrast, Workers United has filed more than 250 unfair labor practice charges against Starbucks, which opposes unionization.

More than 200 of Starbucks' 9,000 company-owned U.S. stores have voted to unionize since last December. Workers at the Phoenix store voted not to unionize in early May.

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