Starbucks has made its latest move in the battle against unionization by asking to stop in-mail ballot union elections at its US stores.
The coffee giant has asked the National Labor Relations Board to stop the ballots, citing voting irregularities.
Its lawyers claim an NLRB official unfairly coordinated between the agency and the labor union during an election in the Kansas City area.
It alleges that the NLRB disclosed confidential real-time election results to the union and that certain workers were provided special voting arrangements.
The company has now requested all elections be paused until the accusations were investigated.
It has also asked all future elections be held entirely in person.
The union counteracted by claiming the move was a plot to thwart elections.
The union’s campaign has recently gained momentum, with over 200 victories secured out of over 250 elections.
Eisen, a barista in Buffalo, New York said: “Starbucks is simultaneously claiming to stand for voter protections, and then asking that all elections be suspended nationwide.”
“This is hypocrisy at its finest.”
Starbucks’ lawyers wrote: “Starbucks respects the rights of its partners to decide for themselves whether they wish to be represented by a union.”
“But those rights can only be properly exercised — and realized — through a neutral, honest process.”
John Logan, a labor professor at San Francisco State University said Starbucks has filed multiple complaints regarding procedural flaws at various locations.
He stated the firm’s efforts compelled labor board authorities to spend time and resources examining complaints, some of which were found to be unsubstantial.
He added that the company had attributed bias to procedural issues that are typical of a wide election run.
Tensions between union leaders and the company have risen. More than 55 strikes have taken place in at least 17 states.
NLRB is investigating Starbucks for various charges of misconduct.
It includes closing stores where employees had filed for union elections, as well as sacking union leaders and pro-union workers, which the firm has refuted.
There are over 200 charges of unfair labor practices filed against the company in 28 states.
Source: The New York Times