Judge Orders Starbucks to Reinstate Union Organizer

  • A federal labor law judge on Tuesday ordered Starbucks to reinstate former employee and labor organizer Jaz Brisack, who had resigned in 2022 after the coffee chain reportedly ignored her request for fewer working shifts. ABC News
  • Robert Ringler, an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board, observed that Starbucks had compelled Brisack to quit by not accommodating her scheduling needs, violating her rights under labor law. The Seattle Times (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • Judge Ringler also asked Starbucks to reinstate and provide back pay to nine pro-union employees it fired for their unionization efforts, noting the coffee chain violated labor laws by "implicitly threatening store closure because of employees' Union activities." Forbes (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • While Starbucks claimed it fired the nine workers from western New York stores for absences, the company had allegedly not disciplined absences from workers who refrained from participation in union activities. ABC News
  • Last September, Mara-Louise Anzalone, an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board, also found that Starbucks violated federal labor law by increasing wages and offering new perks only to non-union employees. CNN (LR: 2 CP: 5)

Narrative A:

  • Starbucks' attempts to bend or break US labor laws as well as its intent — sabotage employees' attempts to improve their lives — is out in the open. Despite around 300 stores across the US deciding to unionize, the coffee chain refuses to see the obvious. Its preferential treatment of those staying away from union activities amounts to mistreatment of those exercising their legitimate rights.

Narrative B:

  • Starbucks' management has met with union representatives at least 85 times in the past few years. Besides regular pay, which approaches around $27 per hour on average, the coffee chain extends multiple benefits, like stock grants and parental leave, to thousands of its employees worldwide. Branding this conscientious corporation as anti-worker or "union-busting" is disingenuous.
    NEW YORK TIMES (LR: 2 CP: 5)

Nerd narrative:

  • There's a 50% chance that at least 12.0% of American workers will be represented by a labor union in 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
    METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)
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