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Wed, May 18

Feds: Starbucks engaged in unfair labor practices in Phoenix

Michelle Eisen, a barista at the Buffalo, N.Y., Elmwood Starbucks location, helps out the local Starbucks Workers United, employees of a local Starbucks, as they gather at a local union hall to cast votes to unionize or not in Mesa, Arizona. Federal labor officials have asked a judge to force Starbucks Corp. to reinstate three union activists at its Phoenix location, alleging that the coffee giant engaged in unfair labor practices practices, documents show April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Michelle Eisen, a barista at the Buffalo, N.Y., Elmwood Starbucks location, helps out the local Starbucks Workers United, employees of a local Starbucks, as they gather at a local union hall to cast votes to unionize or not in Mesa, Arizona. Federal labor officials have asked a judge to force Starbucks Corp. to reinstate three union activists at its Phoenix location, alleging that the coffee giant engaged in unfair labor practices practices, documents show April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Federal labor officials have asked a judge to force Starbucks Corp. to reinstate three union activists at its Phoenix location, alleging that the coffee giant engaged in unfair labor practices, documents show.

The National Labor Relations Board's Phoenix regional director, in a filing April 22 in U.S. District Court in Arizona, sought an injunction that would make Starbucks hire back its three employees — who were three of four members of the union organizing committee.

The NLRB's petition is the latest blow to the coffee chain as locations nationwide seek to unionize. Workers at the flagship Seattle location voted April 21 to form a union, as did baristas in Colorado on April 22.

In Phoenix, federal labor officials allege that Starbucks retaliated after it learned of employees there seeking to unionize.

"Among other things, Starbucks disciplined, suspended, and discharged one employee, constructively discharged another, and placed a third on an unpaid leave of absence after revoking recently granted accommodations," the filing states.

A Starbucks spokesperson said April 23 that the company disagreed with the labor board's accusations and noted an investigation found the employees violated policies and, in some cases, state law.

After the Seattle location's vote, Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesman, said "we will respect the process and will bargain in good faith. We hope that the union does the same."

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