Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz violated labor law for anti-union comments, rules NLRB

A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled last week that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz violated federal labor law by telling a pro-union worker to “go work for another company.”

Judge Brian Gee on Friday said Mr. Schultz’s comments to Starbucks employee Madison Hall constituted an illegal threat to her.

The comments in question came out of Mr. Schultz’s April 2022 Long Beach, California, stop of his listening tour, during which the CEO went to different stores to inquire about working conditions. Ms. Hall asked Mr. Schultz about the unfair labor practice complaints pending at the NLRB. That’s when he made his remark that got him into trouble.

Starbucks faces pressure from its union and federal regulators to adopt a more accepting nature toward unions. The coffee giant faces numerous complaints filed with the NLRB alleging union-busting tactics. The company has denied allegations of illegal practices in its store and continues to fight the ongoing unionization effort.

Over 360 Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since 2021. Starbucks Workers United has yet to reach a contract at any of those stores. SWU has accused the company of stalling talks and has called for a nationwide deal. Starbucks has rejected the union’s accusations and denied SWU’s desire for a national pact.

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