Right-to-work activists are ramping up their efforts to help decertify Starbucks unions.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation posted a notice to all Starbucks employees on its website, urging them to contact the organization for free legal advice and help with decertifying their unions.
“The Foundation wants you to learn about your legal rights from independent sources. You should not rely on what self-interested union officials tell you,” the post reads.
The group touts itself in the note as “the nation’s premier organization exclusively dedicated to providing free legal assistance to employee victims of forced unionism abuse.”
The post walks through how to offer up a vote to decertify their unions, to slash union dues and to leave the union as an individual.
To legally move forward with a decertification vote, workers must have at least 30% of union workers sign a petition. After that, the future of the union is decided by a majority vote.
Workers cannot vote to decertify a union until one year after its initial certification.
The right-to-work group has been working with employees for decades to resist unionization, and legally support workers in various industries.
Starbucks Workers United, which represents thousands of Starbucks workers, maintains that the group is backed by Starbucks, accuses it of trying to generate fear within unionized stores, and denounces it on political grounds.
“The decertification petition filed at a small number of stores is part of a concerted union-busting effort on the part of Starbucks with the support of the Koch brothers-funded, right-wing, anti-union organization, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation,” a statement from the union read.
“Starbucks has forced out many workers by fomenting an environment of polarization, intimidation and fear,” the union said.
Since the unionization push began in earnest in 2021, the National Labor Relations Board has issued several complaints against Starbucks for what they see as illegal anti-union tactics.
Despite the union’s insistence that the decertification push is illegitimate, three union stores have moved to vote on decertification. Two of those locations have not been unionized for more than a year and will have to wait for a vote.
It remains unclear what the specific reasons the stores have for wanting to decertify.
The union is facing an uphill battle on the way to producing results for its workers.
Currently, none of the over 300 stores that have unionized have a contract. Each of the stores has had to negotiate individually, which has lengthened the process.
Since the turnover rate for employees is fairly high at retail shops like Starbucks, many incoming employees also might not have an emotional connection to the union and would be more open to decertification.
• Vaughn Cockayne can be reached at email@example.com.
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