Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Starbucks Becomes Labor's Poster Child For The Employee Free Choice Act

Proponents of The Employee Free Choice Act have made Starbucks Coffee Chain and CEO Howard Shultz it's poster child in the campaign for passage of the law.

Labor unions have long argued that even when a union can prove it represents a majority of employee by producing cards that the employees have signed indicating they want a union employers more often then not will immediately engage in frivolous legal action, intimidation and dismissal of employees they suspect are union sympathizers. Starbucks have now become the dubious stereotypical example when it comes to using these age old union busting tactics when their employees have decided to form a union.
“As the Seattle Times reports today, Schultz's company, already thumped by the National Labor Relations Board last month for unfair labor practices, including the firing and punishing of pro-union baristas at several New York cafes, has now settled a separate NLRB dispute this week in Michigan. And on Wednesday, Starbucks is set to begin proceedings there in a third case in which it allegedly fired a barista because of his union activities.EFCA poster boy: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
The EFCA, also known as card check, would limit the employer’s ability to intimidate and fire employees who want a union by removing the time consuming requirement that an election be conducted at a business to determine whether the employees want the union. Under the new law if the union has cards signed by over 50% of the employees, verified by an independent third party, the union would then represent the employees. The employer would then be required to begin good faith negotiations with the union on a contract to cover the employee’s wages, hours and working conditions.

Employers traditionally have used the lengthy period after the cards have been signed and before the election is held to engages in paternalism, firing and intimidate employees and union ringleaders in order to bust the union and or effect the outcome of the election. Starbucks has on several occasions been found guilty of engaging in anti union practices that personify the type of activity that support labor's arguments for card check.

I'm definitely buying my coffee elsewhere until Starbucks recognize that their employees have the right to organize a union free from intimidation.

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