Signs held by Starbucks union supporters as they protest for Laila Dalton’s reinstatement April 6.
- Employees of a Phoenix Starbucks location said the company retaliated after they tried to unionize.
- They filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
- The NLRB’s Phoenix Director sued Starbucks to reinstate three employees on Friday.
The National Labor Relations Board filed a petition in federal court for Starbucks to rehire three Arizona employees who say they were removed for unfair labor practices, the agency announced on Friday.
The NLRB’s Phoenix Director Cornele Overstreet asked the court for an injunction that would require Starbucks to reinstate three employees with their usual schedules and accommodations, and expunge disciplines from their records. The employees say they were either illegally discharged, forced out, or placed on unpaid leave for union involvement, the NLRB said.
“Employees have the fundamental right to choose whether or not they want to be represented by the union without restraint or coercion by their employer,” Overstreet said in a statement. “The faith of Starbucks employees nationwide in workplace democracy will not be restored unless these employees are immediately reinstated under the protection of a federal court order.”
Employees at a Starbucks in Arizona that began unionizing this year previously told Insider’s Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert that the company has engaged in a pattern of retaliation for organizing.
Laila Dalton, a 19-year-old former barista at a Phoenix Starbucks, told Insider that she was fired after publicly organizing. Dalton said the retaliation began as soon as the union effort went public.
Dalton, alongside other co-workers, filed a complaint with the NLRB in January claiming the coffee giant violated federal law by retaliating against unionizing employees.
Starbucks locations across the country are increasingly participating in a nationwide unionizing effort across the coffee chain. In December, a Buffalo, New York location became the first company-owned Starbucks store in the US that voted to unionize.
Several other locations across the country have voted to unionize since then, including stores in Virginia, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington.
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