Starbucks ex-manager testifies he was told to crack down on pro-union employees: report

The coffee giant is working to counter a growing organized labor movement in its U.S. stores

A former Starbucks store manager testified under oath that higher-ups at the coffee giant told him to target and find reasons to punish pro-union employees as the company battles a widespread unionization push in its stores, according to a new report.

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The mermaid logo on a sign outside the Starbucks coffee shop, Monday, March 14, 2022, in Londonderry, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa / AP Newsroom)

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Bloomberg reported Tuesday that ex-Starbucks manager David Almond — who oversaw a number of New York locations — told a National Labor Relations Board judge in August that he was instructed by superiors to crack down on certain workers the company believed to support union efforts by disciplining them for unrelated reasons.

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In reaction to the claims, a Starbucks spokesperson told FOX Business, "We respect the right of all partners to make their decisions regarding union issues, whether they favor or oppose representation, and in all union dealings, including collective bargaining, we will always engage honestly and in good faith."

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Starbucks employees and supporters react as votes are read during a viewing of their union election on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y.  (AP Newsroom)

The allegations come amid a growing labor movement at Starbucks nationwide. Over the past year alone, roughly 245 of Starbucks' nearly 9,000 U.S. locations have voted for union representation.

The company has also faced a slew of accusations of union-busting from Workers United, the union behind the organization efforts, as well as the NLRB.

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Those prior accusations put Starbucks in the crosshairs of progressive lawmakers. Last week, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal and independent Bernie Sanders sent a letter to CEO Howard Schultz and the board of directors asking the firm to disclose its guidance to managers on how to deal with workers seeking to organize. 

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Exterior view of Starbucks location on Canal Street in New Orleans, LA.  (Google Maps)

The senators also asked Starbucks to disclose how much it has spent on attorney and consulting fees to counter the unionization efforts.

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In response to the letter, Starbucks issued a statement saying, "We appreciate every opportunity to share the facts and address inaccuracies about our company and our partners, and we are confident in our stringent compliance with federal labor law."

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.