A federal labor board judge has found four Pittsburgh area Starbucks branches guilty of threatening, surveilling and illegally terminating employees after the opted to unionize last year. | Pittsburgh City Paper

NLRB charges Starbucks shops with threats, surveillance, and illegal terminations

click to enlarge NLRB charges Starbucks shops with threats, surveillance, and illegal terminations
CP Illustration: Lucy Chen

The National Labor Relations Board has found Pittsburgh-area Starbucks shops guilty of threatening, surveilling, and illegally firing union workers since organizing efforts got underway last spring.

Four employees who were terminated after joining unions must now be reinstated with back pay, according to the ruling, while management at four locations have been ordered to cease from threatening tactics and pledge to bargain in good faith.

“Given the egregiousness of Starbucks’ [unfair labor practices], a broad order requiring it to cease and desist “in any other manner” from interfering with, restraining, or coercing its employees in the exercise of their… rights is warranted,” Judge Robert Ringler states in his June 30 ruling.

The locations named in the case include 425 South Craig St. in Oakland, 7 Market Square in Downtown, 3464 William Penn Hwy. in Wilkins, and 4765 Liberty Ave. in Bloomfield.

A flurry of similar unfair labor complaints have been voiced by workers across the country since the first shop unionized in New York in December 2021, and the Seattle-based coffee giant has been roundly accused of trying to stamp out the nascent labor movement with a scorched earth policy.

Baristas in Bloomfield were among some of the first Starbucks workers in the country to form a union during a wave of organizing last year. Others quickly joined, and by the fall, the Pittsburgh area was home to at least 14 unionized locations. More than 330 branches are now unionized across the country.

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