A federal labor law judge ordered Starbucks to reinstate a high-profile barista and labor organizer who resigned in 2022 after the coffee giant repeatedly ignored their scheduling requests.
In a decision dated Tuesday, an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Starbucks forced Jaz Brisack to resign. The judge said Starbucks scheduled Brisack for two or three shifts a week for months despite her repeated requests to reduce his schedule to one shift a week.
The judge’s decision still must be reviewed and accepted by the National Labor Relations Board, which could then seek a court order to enforce it.
Brisack helped lead the unionization of a Starbucks store in downtown Buffalo, New York, in late 2021. It was the first company-owned Starbucks store to unionize in the United States in decades. At least 370 Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since then.
After the successful union election at his store, Brisack began working full time for Workers United, the union that organizes Starbucks workers. But he found it increasingly difficult to do that job while he worked at Starbucks.
Brisack said Wednesday that she is excited to return to work at Starbucks even though the company opposes the unionization effort.
“The law offers Starbucks countless delaying tactics and avenues for appeal, so I believe this fight will ultimately be won in the court of public opinion, through a consumer boycott of Starbucks,” Brisack said.
Starbucks said Wednesday it is exploring options for further legal review of the judge’s decision. He also pointed out that a recent third party report discovered that Starbucks has always told workers that it respects their right to unionize.
According to the decision, Starbucks told the judge that it expected employees to be available at least 12 hours a week, and that it scheduled Brisack for those shifts to meet the store’s needs, not because she was involved with the union.
But Administrative Law Judge Robert Ringler noted that the Starbucks where Brisack worked allowed several employees to work one or two shifts a week.
Ringler also ordered Starbucks to reinstate and pay back wages to nine other Western New York store workers, including several union supporters who were fired for absences even though the company tolerated absences from workers not participating in the union. unionization.
Starbucks and the union have not reached an agreement at any of the unionized stores, and no bargaining sessions were held for most of the past year. Starbucks said in December that I wanted to restart conversations and ratify the contracts before the end of this year.