(NewsGlobal.com)- On Monday, Starbucks asked the NLRB to temporarily end all mail-in balloting for union elections at its US stores after regional NLRB officials were accused of improperly coordinating with union organizers.
In a letter to the NLRB chairman and other officials, Starbucks cited an unnamed career NLRB employee who alerted the company about the improper coordination between the NLRB’s St. Louis office and union organizers during the union election at an Overland Park, Kansas Starbucks this spring.
The Overland Park store is one of 314 Starbucks locations in the US where workers have petitioned the NLRB told hold union elections since late last year. Of those, 220 stores have voted to unionize, an effort Starbucks opposes.
The company alleges after Starbucks and union organizers agreed that elections would be done entirely by mail, St. Louis labor board officials made special arrangements for union-supporting workers to vote in person at the St. Louis office when they did not receive mail-in ballots.
Starbucks cited memos from the St. Louis office confirming that Starbucks workers were permitted to come there and vote in person after the union claimed some workers hadn’t received their ballots in the mail. However, there were no observers present when the workers voted.
In its letter, Starbucks said without observers present, it is impossible to know if any NLRB personnel “had inappropriate communications with the voters,” including instructing them on how to vote.
The company also accused regional board officials of disclosing confidential information to the union, including what mail-in ballots had arrived to be counted.
The union, Starbucks Workers United, accused the company of leveling the accusations to “distract attention away from their unprecedented anti-union campaign.”
In a statement on Monday, the union said Starbucks’ request is the company’s latest effort “to manipulate the legal process” to stop its workers from organizing.
According to NLRB press secretary Kayla Blado, the board will consider the challenges Starbucks has raised “carefully and objectively.”
In April, the Overland Park store voted 6 to 1 to unionize, however, seven additional ballots were challenged either by Starbucks or the union.