Starbucks is asking the Department of Labor to suspend mail-in union elections over voting misconduct

Starbucks Workers United t-shirts hang outside as unionized workers strike outside a Starbucks location at 874 Commonwealth Avenue in the Brookline neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., Tuesday, July 19, 2022 over unfair labor practices.

Scott Brewer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Starbucks is asking the federal labor agency to suspend all mail-in union elections nationwide, alleging that agency employees and the union that organizes its baristas rigged the voting process.

The coffee giant wrote in a letter Monday to the chairman and general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board that Labor Board officials engaged in misconduct during a Kansas City-area election and likely acted similarly in other elections. Starbucks cited an NLRB career professional who had contacted the company as a whistleblower.

According to an NLRB tally Friday, more than 220 Starbucks coffee shops across the United States voted to join a union. Another 34 elections have been ordered or are in progress and seven other businesses are awaiting elections.

In addition to asking for a pause on all scheduled absentee ballots, Starbucks is requesting that all future elections be held in person while the allegations can be investigated.

NLRB officials reportedly coordinated with union officials to arrange an in-person vote at Labor Department offices during absentee ballots, the company said. Starbucks also alleges that Workers United agents received confidential, real-time information about certain vote counts so the union could target workers who had not yet voted. NLRB officials and Workers United then allegedly coordinated to cover up the activity, the company said.

The letter from Starbucks includes emails purporting to come from union officials and labor authority officials, confirming his allegations. The company said it received the whistleblower’s paperwork. Starbucks is asking the Department of Labor to suspend mail-in union elections over voting misconduct

Joshua Buckhalter

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