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House Republicans subpoena labor authorities in Starbucks union dispute



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Starbucks logo is pictured on the door of the Green Apron Delivery Service at the Empire State Building in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

(Reuters) -The House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday issued a subpoena to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging officials of the labor body failed to conduct fair and impartial union elections at Starbucks Corp (NASDAQ:).

In the cover letter accompanying the subpoena, top Republican on the committee Virginia Foxx said an NLRB report from February this year confirmed certain allegations detailed in a letter from Starbucks to NLRB in August 2022.

Starbucks in the letter to Chairman Lauren McFerran and General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said NLRB agents helped Workers United win elections by manipulating the voting process and collaborated with the union to cover up their actions.

Foxx, who chairs the committee, said an NLRB hearing officer found merit to certain objections made by Starbucks regarding the representation election involving its Overland Park, Kansas, store.

She has requested a regional NLRB official to provide documents to see if the federal labor board mishandled Starbucks Union elections.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news and said Foxx has asked the NLRB to provide documents to the committee on March 29.

The labor body’s adjudicators have found that Starbucks has broken the law hundreds of times and federal court judges have issued injunctions mandating that the company ceases to do so, a spokesperson for the NLRB General Counsel told Reuters.

The NLRB was investigating a substantial number of additional allegations against Starbucks and working with the Congress, the spokesperson added.

Starbucks did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment, while Starbucks Workers United declined to comment.

Employees at more than 280 of Starbucks’ roughly 9,000 company-operated U.S. locations have voted to join a labor union since 2021 seeking better pay and benefits, improved health and safety conditions and protection against unfair dismissal.

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