The Real Reason Starbucks Just Filed Complaints Against Unionizing

The battle over unionization at Starbucks continues to heat up. According to CNBC, Howard Schultz retook control over Starbucks as the interim CEO in early April, but the company has since lost some of its value, partially due to his union-busting approach. The New York Post reports that Schultz has criticized the unionization movement, claiming that they operate as an "outside force" that will destabilize the cafe chain's business operations. Schultz has denied the claim that he has engaged in any union-busting techniques, instead saying that he encouraged Starbucks workers to "understand what it would really mean to vote for a union."

Starbucks has now fired back at critics who claim the company has attempted to dissuade employees from organizing. Food & Wine found that Starbucks decided to file complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that union organizers have used predatory tactics in order to force employees to join the collectivization effort. This filing marks the first time that the corporation has ever sought out a legal complaint of this sort, per Food & Wine, and it will likely increase tensions on both sides of the unionization struggle.

What Starbucks' legal filings claim

According to Food & Wine, Starbucks claims that union organizers have been intimidating and bullying employees into joining the emerging unions in Denver and Phoenix. One Starbucks VP even claimed that some individuals sought help from corporate staff over the alleged intimidations. Per Fox Business, Starbucks additionally suggested that the intimidation tactics have been affecting customers' experience, particularly people patronizing the stores seeking to unionize.

Member of the Starbucks Workers Union have a different standpoint on the issue. They issued a statement to Food & Wine calling out the cafe chain's corporate management, who they say is waging "war against its own partners." "It takes a lot of gall for a company that's launched one of the most aggressive and intense anti-union campaigns in modern history to file these charges," the statement read, adding that the legal action seems to show a sense of "desperation" from Starbucks higher-ups.

The coffee chain has also made it clear that it remains open to filing more complaints aimed at other metro areas who Starbucks believes might engage in allegedly similar bullying tactics. The company has framed this legal action as a way of protecting all of their employees, no matter how they may vote on joining the union. In the meantime, The Starbucks Workers Union has held its ground. Considering that only two out of the 26 stores who have thus far voted to unionize voted no, things might be looking hopeful for organizing at Starbucks.