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20 Okt 2023

Ginger Christ, Restaurant Dive (USA)

USA: Starbucks' threat to cut abortion travel benefits for organising workers violated law, judge rules

Barista at Starbucks

"Starbucks’ threat to cut abortion travel benefits violated NLRA, agency judge says"


Starbucks has been hit with a litany of labor-related complaints as its workers across the country have unionized ...


In September, NLRB said four St. Louis-area Starbucks locations violated federal labor law when managers threatened to withhold planned raises and benefits additions if workers unionized. One store banned workers from wearing pro-union T-shirts under its dress code policy and posted a directive that seemingly barred pro-union “sip-in” demonstrations, actions that have “a reasonable tendency to chill employees from exercising their Section 7 rights,” NLRB said. 

In August, an NLRB administrative law judge ruled that Starbucks’ workplace civility rule was “overbroad” and overstepped the NLRA. The judge recommended Starbucks rescind its “How We Communicate” workplace policy in light of workers’ complaints of anti-union activity. 

In March, an NLRB administrative law judge said Starbucks committed “egregious” misconduct at Buffalo, New York-area stores during a highly publicized unionization effort, including surveillance and photography of employees participating in union activity; temporarily closing stores; and threatening to withhold benefits from organizing workers.