The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, September/October 2023 edition. To view other editions of Foundation Action or to sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Foundation provides free legal aid to Starbucks employees looking to remove unions

Mark Mix appeared on Newsmax TV this summer to discuss reports that union bosses spent millions to infiltrate Starbucks workforces with union agitators, many of whom hid their affiliations from their coworkers and even Congress.

Mark Mix appeared on Newsmax TV this summer to discuss reports that union bosses spent millions to infiltrate Starbucks workforces with union agitators, many of whom hid their affiliations from their coworkers and even Congress.

WASHINGTON, DC – Union bosses and their bought-and-paid-for political allies like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have been touting the unionization of some Starbucks locations as a breakthrough for Big Labor. But Starbucks employees under union control are increasingly realizing the drawbacks of having union bosses in the workplace and are banding together to say “NO” to union power.

In the last few months, employees at Starbucks locations in Manhattan and Buffalo, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Minneapolis, MN, and Salt Lake City, UT, have all filed decertification petitions at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), requesting the agency hold elections at their stores to remove the Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) union. All have received free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys.

But SBWU union officials — boosted by operatives from their notorious puppeteer, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) — are fighting tooth and nail to remain in power at Starbucks locations where workers want them gone.

SBWU union officials are flooding the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with unrelated charges of alleged employer wrongdoing in an attempt to stall these decertification petitions.

Starbucks Worker’s Brief Blasts NLRB Double Standard on Elections

In June, Foundation staff attorneys filed a Request for Review with the NLRB in Washington, D.C., as a part of a case for Buffalo Starbucks worker Ariana Cortes. This request asks the Board to reverse an NLRB Regional Director’s order dismissing Cortes and her coworkers’ majority-backed petition for a decertification election on whether to remove SBWU.

The filing emphasizes that the employees want an election to remove a union that lacks the support of a majority of the workers. Employee free choice is a fundamental principle of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and by denying these employees an election, the Board is undermining free choice.

The brief also observes the basis for blocking the vote is contradicted by the NLRB allowing union-backed certification elections to proceed with little or no delay. The result is that the SEIU is like a roach motel, easy to enter but impossible to leave.

Efforts to Boot SBWU Increasing Across Country

“They have treated us like pawns, promising us that we could remove them after a year if we no longer wanted their representation, and are now trying to stop us from exercising our right to vote,” Cortes said of SBWU union bosses. “It’s obvious they care more about power and control than respecting our individual rights.”

Cortes and her coworkers are not the only workers to become disillusioned with SBWU.

Foundation attorneys recently began representing employees at Starbucks branches at Pittsburgh’s Penn Center East, the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, and Cottonwood Heights in the Salt Lake Valley, UT, who also submitted petitions demanding decertification votes on SBWU union officials.

“SBWU union bosses have not looked out for the interests of me and my fellow employees,” commented Pittsburgh Starbucks employee Elizabeth Gulliford. “We simply want to exercise our right to vote out a union that we don’t believe has done a good job, and both SBWU and Starbucks should respect that right and our final decision.”

The Starbucks employee-led decertification attempts all took place about one year after union power was installed at these stores — meaning workers seized the opportunity to decertify nearly as soon as legally possible. Federal labor law prevents workers from exercising their right to remove an unpopular union for at least one year after the union is installed.

Biden NLRB Propping Up Union Boss Attempts to Squash Votes

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that SBWU officials seek to extend their power over as many Starbucks workers as possible, with little regard for the employees they claim to ‘represent,’” commented National Right to Work Foundation Vice President and Legal Director William Messenger. “And as we’ve seen in Ms. Cortes’ case in Buffalo, Biden NLRB officials are more than willing to indulge union bosses’ legal maneuvers to cling onto power even when workers have clearly had enough.”

“SBWU officials should not seek to disenfranchise the Starbucks workers they claim to ‘represent’ as those workers try to flee the SBWU’s clutches,” Messenger added. “The union officials’ conduct shows why fundamental changes must be made to the NLRB’s election processes to better protect employee free choice.”

Posted on Nov 24, 2023 in Newsletter Articles