Great Neck Starbucks managers accused of threatening workers attempting to unionize in complaint

Great Neck Starbucks managers accused of threatening workers attempting to unionize in complaint
Workers at a Great Neck Starbucks are looking to unionize. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

The managers at a Great Neck Starbucks were accused of engaging in unfair labor practices by workers attempting to unionize, according to a complaint.

In February, more than a dozen employees at the Starbucks at 6 Great Neck Road signed a letter to Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson informing him of their decision to unionize. The Great Neck location was one of several in the New York City area to call for unionizing and 72 throughout the country.

“Our goal in unionizing is to make you hear us, and to let us have power in relation to our labor, rather than alienation from it,” the letter to Johnson said. “We, as partners, are the ones building the wealth of Starbucks, a company worth billions of dollars, and it is time we get our fair share, a voice at work, and a seat at the table.”

More than a month later a complaint was filed by representatives with the Workers United New York New Jersey Regional Board to the National Labor Relations Board. It claims that managers of the Great Neck store engaged in nine unfair labor practices for nearly a month, starting on or around Feb. 10.

The alleged unfair labor practices included loss of promotion and opportunities to transfer to other stores, disciplinary threats and threats of losing income, according to the complaint. Joselyn Chuquillanqui, one of the employees who has advocated for unionizing, said the threats allegedly made by management would have a significant impact on the store’s employees.

“There are a lot of people who work at our store who rely on the benefits or possibly getting promotions and a lot of those things were falsely said would be taken away if we unionized,” she said.

Chuquillanqui said the National Labor Relations Board will oversee a mail-in vote from April 8 until April 29 to determine if the workers will unionize. If they do, they would join Starbucks Workers United.

Sarah Albanesi, a spokeswoman for Starbucks Corp., denied the employees’ allegations. “Any claims of anti-union busting or activities are completely false,” she said, contending that the company has honored the process the National Labor Relations Board has presented.

Albanesi said once a petition is filed to the labor relations board, local managers make themselvea available to answer questions about collective bargaining and how the unionization process will work.

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