BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Opening statements took place in federal court Monday in the latest chapter in the battle between Starbucks and employees in Western New York involved in unionizing efforts.
Attorneys representing the National Labor Relations Board are calling on the coffee giant to reinstate seven people they claim were fired from Starbucks stores in Buffalo for trying to unionize.
“There’s an effort for the NLRB to file what’s called a 10 J violation which would basically force Starbucks to negotiate with the union,” says Art Wheaton, Director of Labor Studies at Cornell University.
The NLRB has cited Starbucks for more than 200 violations of unfair labor practices.
The federal court judge denied a request from attorneys representing Starbucks to delay Monday’s proceedings.
“The same school of thought of how to try to block a union, but it has not been effective for Starbucks,” Wheaton says. “Because about 200 of their stores have voted "YES" for a union even though Starbucks is being anti-union and committing unfair labor practices.”
Wheaton says there could be several outcomes from this trial.
“The other major win will be if the courts recognized that this is just not an isolated event from this one location,” Wheaton says. “This is a corporate strategy that’s impacted over two hundred locations. They will give a blanket cease and desist.”
Proceedings will continue Tuesday.
“They expect the trial to last weeks, and after the trial, then it’ll take a few months for the written decision to come out,” Wheaton says.