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Starbucks Threatened to Shutter Stores Over Organizing, Union Claims

  • Group says company threatened to shut down Buffalo area stores
  • Coffee chain faces a rapidly expanding unionization push


Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

The labor group organizing workers at Starbucks Corp. has filed 20 complaints over the past week accusing the company of workers’ rights violations that range from a threat to shut down all stores in the Buffalo, New York, market to discriminatory enforcement of policies. 

The complaints, filed with the Buffalo regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, represent an escalation of the sprawling legal struggle between Starbucks and Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The group claims that the company illegally coerced employees during “effectively mandatory” anti-union meetings, while pro-union employees were barred from the sessions.