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In official complaint, NLRB alleges Starbucks violated federal labor law with Eugene employees

Starbucks employee Ian Meagher, in a Starbucks Workers United t-shirt, giving a speech.
Photo provided by Ian Meagher.
Starbucks employee Ian Meagher, in a Starbucks Workers United t-shirt, giving a speech.

The National Labor Relations Board has issued its first complaint against coffee-corporation Starbucks. This regards several actions allegedly taken against workers, including some wearing union t-shirts in Eugene.

Ian Meagher is a barista at the Franklin and Villard Starbucks. He told KLCC that last spring after his store voted to unionize, he and another worker arrived wearing their Starbucks Workers United shirts, and were sent home by management.

“Not really trying to explicitly send us home, just to say that we had the option to either go home and change, or that we couldn’t work,” said Meagher. “So, we ended up just going home and changing our shirts, and coming back to work, not wanting to make a huge fuss of it. But then we ended up written up for that incident.

“A different barista was told to go home. and she just ended up going home and not coming back.”

Other accusations in the NLRB complaint include holding “captive audience” meetings and threatening to cut benefits.

Meagher says ahead of a February hearing, Starbucks can admit wrongdoing and apologize, and provide backpay for wages lost.

Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment.

©2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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