March 3, 2024

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House Republicans invoke labor powers in Starbucks union dispute

House Republicans invoke labor powers in Starbucks union dispute

(Reuters) – The House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday issued a subpoena to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging that labor officials failed to conduct fair and impartial union elections at Starbucks Corporation (SBUX.O).

In the cover letter Accompanying the subpoena, Virginia Fox, the ranking Republican on the committee, said the NLRB report released in February of this year corroborated some allegations detailed in a letter from Starbucks to the NLRB in August 2022.

Starbucks said in the letter to Board Chair Lauren McFerran and General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo that NLRB agents helped the United Workers win the election by manipulating the voting process and cooperated with the union to cover up their actions.

Foxx, who chairs the committee, said the NLRB hearing officer found merit to some of the objections Starbucks has filed regarding representation elections involving the Overland Park, Kansas store.

I asked an NLRB regional official to provide documentation to see if the Federal Labor Board mishandled the Starbucks union election.

The Wall Street Journal first broke the news and said that Fox had asked the NLRB to submit documents to the committee on March 29.

NLRB press secretary Kayla Bladeau told Reuters that arbitrators in the business body have found that Starbucks broke the law hundreds of times and federal court judges have issued injunctions stopping the company from doing so.

Blado added that the NLRB has been investigating a slew of additional allegations against Starbucks and is working with Congress.

Starbucks and Starbucks United Workers did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

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Employees at more than 280 of the roughly 9,000 American Starbucks locations operated by the company have voted to unionize since 2021, seeking better pay and benefits, improved health and safety conditions, and protection from unfair dismissal.

(Reporting by Ananya Maryam Rajesh in Bengaluru). Editing by Maju Samuel and Chingini Ganguly

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