Submitted on Thu, 10/02/2008 - 7:25pm
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By Julie Forster - jforster [at] pioneerpress.com
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
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
"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
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.
IWW Starbucks Workers Union