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Starbucks Settles Claim With NLRB

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By Julie Forster - jforster [at]
Starbucks Corp. has agreed to a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board on charges of anti-union activities at its Mall of America store that stemmed from the July firing of a barista who tried to organize workers.

The settlement agreement is the third nationally the Seattle-based corporation has reached with the NLRB concerning alleged efforts to stop workers from joining a union.

It comes in the wake of the August reinstatement of barista Erik Forman, who still is trying to organize Starbucks workers at Twin Cities stores into a union called the Starbucks Workers Union.

Forman claimed Starbucks said it fired him for discussing a warning for showing up late with a coworker. But it was really for his union organizing activities, he said.

After he was fired, Forman filed a charge of unfair labor practices with the NLRB. The board concluded there was sufficient evidence the company violated the National Labor Relations Act.

Marlin Osthus, NLRB acting director in Minneapolis, said the board found Forman's and other workers' activities were protected under the law.

When Starbucks rehired Forman, it said the firing was "ill-considered."

"We view this settlement of the NLRB charge as confirming the steps we already took to make things right in this situation," Starbucks said in a statement. In settling, the company didn't admit to violating the law in any way.

The charges ranged from interrogation of union activists, threats
against workers and surveillance of union organizing. In the settlement, Starbucks says it will not engage in any of these activities.

The company also agreed to post a notice for 60 days in its Mall of America store telling workers of their rights to join, form or assist a union.

The settlement also requires Starbucks to give Forman back pay for lost wages due to his termination.

"I'm definitely happy to be back at work," Forman said. "I'm even more happy to be back on the shop floor to continue organizing with coworkers to earn a living wage, for guaranteed hours and for other positive changes."

Julie Forster can be reached at 651-228-5189.

Daniel Gross
IWW Starbucks Workers Union
Ph:(917) 577-1110
Fx:(917) 591-6128