As part of our commitment to hold ourselves and everyone involved accountable to the collective bargaining process as defined by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Starbucks has filed five charges of unfair labor practices against Workers United and its representatives for failing to negotiate in good faith in violation of the NLRA.
Starbucks and Workers United agreed to meet in person to participate in more than 40 separate sets of contract negotiations, each involving a different store, from today through Nov. 10.
Disappointingly, after Starbucks partners and the negotiating committee arrived at agreed locations for face-to-face meetings in Buffalo, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Louisville and Long Beach, Workers United began broadcasting the sessions virtually to individuals who were not present. In at least one session, Workers United also made a video recording that was posted online.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) prohibits parties from making recordings or transcripts of contract negotiations because such actions “impede the free and open discussion necessary to conduct successful negotiations.”
In a written statement issued to Workers United shortly afterwards, we expressed our concerns that our committees would remain on site for the duration of the sessions, ready to return to the negotiating table should such behavior stop. The broadcasting or recording of these face-to-face sessions is of great concern and undermines the interests of our partners, as negotiations warrant discussion of individuals by name and are likely to cover a range of sensitive topics.
These events came after extensive efforts by Starbucks to move forward with more than 200 sets of contract negotiations, each involving a different store.
We were pleased that Workers United representatives agreed to meet at locations across the country for face-to-face negotiations starting this week, which differed from previous virtual negotiation sessions held by mutual agreement due to COVID-19 concerns.
In part, the charges filed by Starbucks state: “Starbucks remained (and remains) ready to engage in good faith collective bargaining in meetings held at the locations and times agreed upon by the parties, which was prevented by the actions and the behavior of Workers United today.”
It is disappointing that Workers United has started this process by creating unnecessary delays and confusion by distorting the facts on social media. Today’s indictment is intended to ensure that all parties involved will unite to negotiate in good faith.