Written by Hilary Ross
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Starbucks Inc plans to start negotiating its first contracts with employees at hundreds of US union coffee shops in October, the coffee chain said on Monday.
When that happens, these workers are likely to demand key job protection: to be fired only for a good cause, according to baristas and union spokesperson Casey Moore.
Baristas and shift supervisors at at least 240 company-owned companies in the United States Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ 🙂 has consolidated its union positions in just over a year. Workers at Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:), Trader Joe’s grocery stores and other retailers have also petitioned the National Labor Council to join unions.
The Seattle-based company sent letters to union organizers in 234 stores Friday, saying it was available to begin bargaining in October, according to a post on a Starbucks blog focused on union activities.
“We look forward to these negotiations and hope to set dates and secure locations for contract bargaining,” the post said.
United Workers Organization, a subsidiary of Service Employees International, said employees in some stores had waited more than five months to begin discussions on issues including worker safety, discrimination and respect in the workplace.
Moore said the union’s National Bargaining Committee prioritized one “fair cause,” a basic form of job security that requires a company to discipline workers for a cause that is just — as opposed to a trivial issue such as personal hatred — and often allows the union to settle issues in arbitration.
Moore said more than 110 Starbucks employees have been fired over petty issues in retaliation for organizing their union.
Following a federal appeals court ruling, Starbucks said earlier this month it would rehire seven Memphis employees the union said were fired in retaliation for their regulation.
The company said earlier this month, that no Starbucks employees have been disciplined or will be disciplined for supporting unions. She said the allegations of retaliatory shootings were false and that Starbucks was contesting them in legal proceedings.