NYC Starbucks employees file petition to decertify SEIU union affiliate after just one year under the union’s compulsory ‘representation’
New York, NY (May 10, 2023) –A Starbucks Roastery worker in Chelsea, Manhattan recently filed a petition for a vote on whether to remove NY-NJ Regional Joint Board, Worker’s United, an affiliate of Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The petition, submitted with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), was filed by Kevin Caesar. Caesar is receiving free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys.
On May 9, 2023, Starbucks employee Caesar filed the decertification petition to obtain a vote on whether to remove the union, often called Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) from their workplace. After being unionized for just over one year, the workers have had enough of the union and believe they would be better off without it. Under the National Labor Relations Act, which the NLRB is charged with enforcing, workers must wait one year after a unionization vote before they can seek another vote, such as the decertification election Caesar and his coworkers have demanded.
With the petition filed, the NLRB should now promptly schedule a secret ballot election to determine whether a majority of workers want to end union officials’ power to impose a contract, including forced dues, on the workers. If a majority vote against the union, the workers will join the vast majority of Starbucks workers across the country who are free from union boss-control.
The Starbucks workers are just the latest example of growing dissatisfaction with union officials’ “representation.” Currently, the NLRB’s data shows a unionized private sector worker is far more likely to be involved in a decertification effort as their nonunion counterpart is to be involved in a unionization campaign. NLRB statistics also show a 20% increase in decertification petitions last year versus 2021.
Unfortunately, the NLRB’s union decertification process is prone to union boss-created roadblocks, which can impact the Starbucks workers if union officials plot to stay in power regardless of workers’ wishes. Foundation-backed NLRB reforms from 2020 have made it somewhat easier for workers to escape unwanted union “representation,” such as the “Election Protection Rule” that prevents union bosses from filing trumped-up “blocking charges” to delay or stop decertification elections entirely.
Prior to these Foundation-backed reforms, workers often had their decertification votes delayed by unproven union blocking charges, giving union bosses the power to trap workers in union ranks they oppose nearly indefinitely. Under the Foundation-backed reforms, most votes take place promptly, with union blocking claims adjudicated after the votes have been counted. However, the Biden-appointed NLRB is currently engaging in rulemaking to roll back these protections and make it much harder for workers to decertify a union.
“No worker anywhere should be forced under so-called union ‘representation’ they oppose,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Starbucks workers around the nation that also fall victim to union tyranny should know they can turn to Foundation staff attorneys for assistance.”
“While we are happy that the Starbucks workers are able to take their first steps in exercising their rights oust an unwanted union, we call on SBWU union officials not to attempt to block or otherwise interfere with the rank-and-file workers’ right to hold this vote,” continued Mix. “Union bosses should not be allowed to keep their grip on power simply by disenfranchising those they claim to ‘represent.’"
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in about 250 cases per year. Its web address is www.nrtw.org.