Read the three articles noted below about an actual union-organizing effort involving Starbucks in New York City:
After reading all the articles and considering additional research, address the following questions (feel free to use supplemental authoritative resources in your response):
For additional details, please refer to the Short Paper and Case Study Rubric document.
OL 318 Short Paper/Case Study Analysis Rubric
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Critical Elements Exemplary (100%) Proficient (85%) Needs Improvement (55%) Not Evident (0%) Value Main Elements Includes all of the main
elements and requirements and cites additional information to illustrate each element
Includes all of the main elements and requirements
Includes some of the main elements and requirements
Includes few or none of the main elements and requirements
Inquiry and Analysis Provides in-depth analysis that demonstrates complete understanding of all concepts
Provides in-depth analysis that demonstrates complete understanding of most concepts
Provides analysis that demonstrates understanding of some concepts
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All of the course concepts are correctly applied
Most of the course concepts are correctly applied
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Critical Thinking Draws insightful conclusions that are thoroughly defended with evidence and examples
Draws informed conclusions that are justified with evidence
Draws logical conclusions, but does not defend with evidence
Does not draw logical conclusions
Research Incorporates many scholarly resources effectively that reflect depth and breadth of research
Incorporates some scholarly resources effectively that reflect depth and breadth of research
Incorporates a few scholarly resources that reflect depth and breadth of research
Does not incorporate scholarly resources that reflect depth and breadth of research
No errors related to organization, grammar and style, and citations
Minor errors related to organization, grammar and style, and citations
Some errors related to organization, grammar and style, and citations
Major errors related to organization, grammar and style, and citations
2 Management Report / March 2009
© 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Management Report DOI: 10.1002/mare
A UFCW spokesman said the key to the union victory was not the exodus of Hispanics, but bridging the divides between races.
Certainly, in some other situations—such as among janitors and health care workers—unions have been successful among Hispanic work- ers, even those who are here illegally.
Some say a more important factor was court involvement. The com- pany and the union agreed on election terms as part of a settlement of lawsuits filed against each other.
Ultimately, it may have been the union’s persistence that paid off. “They let everyone know that they were in it for the long haul,” an organizer from a farmworkers’ union observed. “When you give the people hope, and that hope is not going to go away, people tend to side with you.” n
Judge Says Starbucks Violated Workers’ Rights at NYC Stores
A New York City Industrial Workers of the World local—which also is known as the “Starbucks Workers Union”—may be making some head- way in its ongoing campaign to organize Starbucks workers at four New York City stores. An administrative law judge (ALJ) has ruled that the company unlawfully restricted workers’ union activity and fired three workers due to their support for the union.
Starbucks kept workers from wearing union buttons, using bulletin boards and talking about unions and working conditions, the ALJ said. Thus, the company interfered with, restrained, and coerced employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act, the judge said.
The ALJ also said the evidence showed Starbucks fired three employ- ees due to their union activity. She recommended that the NLRB order the company to reinstate the workers with back pay.
Union Insignia In March 2006, the company settled prior unfair labor practices
(ULPs) filed by the union and entered into an agreement that recognized the right of its employees to wear “reasonably-sized-and-placed buttons or pins that identify a particular labor organization or [an employee’s] sup- port for that organization.”
Based on its interpretation of the settlement, the company told em- ployees they could wear only one pin.
The ALJ said her review of the evidence showed that employees wore numerous pins on their uniforms, hats, or aprons while work- ing. The judge said the company failed to prove there were special circumstances showing that wearing of more than one insignia may jeopardize safety, damage machinery or products, exacerbate em- ployee dissension, or unreasonably interfere with the employer’s public image. Absent such evidence, the limit of one union-related pin was unlawful.
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(Continued on page 8)
8 Management Report / March 2009
© 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Management Report DOI: 10.1002/mare
Bulletin Boards At Starbucks’ Union Square East store, there was
a back room that contained two bulletin boards. One bulletin board was reserved for company use, but there was a dispute about the use of the second bulletin board. The company said it had a long-standing policy that employees could not post personal notices on the second bulletin board. The judge said the evidence showed that the timing of Starbucks’ announcement of this policy was “directly in response to open union activity” and that the company’s stated policies on bulletin board use had either been “unenforced or ap- plied in a very liberal manner by store management.” Therefore, the alleged policy was unlawfully applied to discriminate against union supporters and union- related notices.
Talking About the Union Store managers had told employees they could not
discuss the union while they were working, based on the company’s rule against solicitation during work time. The judge said the evidence showed that Star- bucks permitted social conversations on a variety of topics during work time. The Board has held there is a difference between soliciting an employee’s support for the union and holding a brief conversation about union-related matters, the judge noted. Starbucks’ use of its no-solicitation rule to prohibit union talk during work time was unlawful, because it singled out union talk while allowing social conversation on other topics.
The ALJ also concluded that supervisors unlaw- fully prohibited employees from discussing work- ing conditions, limited employees’ off-duty access to stores, and prevented some employees from working additional shifts at other locations. In addition, she found that three employees had been unlawfully fired because of their activity or comments in support of the union (Starbucks Corp., NLRB ALJ, No. 2-CA-37548, 12/19/08). n
(Continued from page 2)
union to represent you. It doesn’t even mention an election.
IF I SIGN ONE OF THESE CARDS, CAN I GET IT BACK?
The union never gives the cards back. You can write to them asking for the card, but I’ll bet you they will never return it to you. n
What You Can Say About a Union
This is the fourth article in a series that began with discussion of the acronym PITS. “PITS” is an easy way for supervisors and managers to remember the kinds of actions that will cause an unfair labor practice finding from the National Labor Relations Board. The forbidden actions are promises, interrogation, threats, and surveillance.
With so much to remember about what you can’t do or say, it’s important to note there is a great deal you can say. You can give your opinion without threat- ening. You can make statements, and you can show employees facts, all without asking questions or mak- ing threats or promises.
Here are examples of permitted statements:
You MAY tell employees that the vast majority of workers do not belong to labor unions. You may communicate the facts that (1) less than 7 percent of the private workforce in our country belongs to unions and (2) the trend in union membership has been downward for many years.
You MAY tell employees of your bad experiences with unions in general, or the unhappy experi- ences of your friends and relatives.
You MAY tell employees what you know about the union and about restrictive provisions in the union’s constitution such as fines, assessments, dues increases, union “trials,” and similar rules that give the union power over their work lives. Our campaign manager will provide you with the information you need. Be sure your statements are truthful.
You MAY tell employees about restrictive language in union contracts at other facilities that would make them worse off than under present policies.
You MAY tell employees why you believe they will be better off without the union.
You MAY tell employees who express resistance to signing a card for the union that they have the right to speak out against it and to tell coemploy- ees about the company’s good points and why a union is not needed. (But don’t directly ask or di- rect a worker to campaign against the union; just tell them they have the right to do so). n
4 Management Report / January 2010
© 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Management Report DOI: 10.1002/mare
to restrain, coerce, or interfere with rights guaranteed employees by the Act.
Meaning for Management As can be seen from this case, Board decisions on
whether the employer committed an unfair labor prac- tice can turn on subtle definitions, such that many remarks supervisors or managers might naturally make may be unlawful. It is virtually impossible for untrained supervisors to avoid committing unwitting violations of the Act.
Considering the hefty fines for unfair labor prac- tices that are anticipated with the eventual passage of some version of the Employee Free Choice Act, super- visory training before organizing activity commences is an imperative. n
Making the Case That EFCA Is Remedy for Hard Times
You might think that today’s economic hard times are not a good climate to make the radical changes in labor law that would occur if any version of the pro- posed Employee Free Choice Act were enacted.
That is not how the measure’s most ardent sup- porters see it. Blogging for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, a progressive think tank, Amy Traub argues that current conditions make it clearer than ever why the EFCA is needed. Hers are arguments we are likely to hear from other supporters when the U.S. Congress gets back to consideration of the measure.
Traub observes that businesses are finding that one place they squeeze out a little extra profit in these difficult economic times is by reducing labor costs. In some cases, wages have been cut or planned increases withheld. Many workers are also being saddled with increases in their contributions for health insurance, as employers switch to high-deductible or other plans that require higher employee payments.
Another method of belt tightening at the expense of workers that is being widely employed, Traub says, is to reduce the payroll by reducing staff, and then demanding that the remaining workers work harder and for longer hours, which they will do to avoid losing their own jobs and having to look for another in this dismal job market.
All this means working people are bearing the brunt of the economic downturn, Traub argues. The remedy, she claims, is “to give workers more power in the work- place, enough to push back and stop making America’s working families the single easiest target for every negative economic development. The Employee Free Choice Act was a good idea before the recession, when middle-class Americans weren’t sharing the benefits of economic good times, but it’s absolutely essential now that working people are bearing the disproportionate brunt of the economic hard times,” Traub says.
One important fact unmentioned in this pro-EFCA spin is that unions have been unable to protect their members from layoffs and terminations during this recession. n
NLRB Orders Starbucks to Reinstate Two Workers, But Not a Third
The NLRB has ordered Starbucks to reinstate with back pay two former employees who were fired for supporting a union. In a partial victory for the company, the Board declined to order reinstatement for a third worker whose behavior was not protected (Starbucks Corp. d/b/a Starbucks Coffee Co., 352 NLRB No. 99 (2009)).
In March 2006, Starbucks had settled various charges filed by the union and entered into an agree- ment approved by an NLRB regional director that recognized the right of employees to wear “reasonably- sized-and-placed buttons or pins that identify a par- ticular labor organization or a partner’s support for that organization.”
Starbucks officials interpreted the settlement to limit employees to wearing a single union button and told employees they could wear only one pin. The Board, however, agreed with the administrative law judge (ALJ) that the company could not convincingly support its assertion that there was a compelling busi- ness reason to restrict employees to one prounion pin.
The Board adopted the ALJ’s findings that Star- bucks discriminated against certain employees by pro- hibiting them from using a company bulletin board and from talking about unions and working conditions, by
Protected ConductEFCA Watch
© 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Management Report / January 2010 5
Management Report DOI: 10.1002/mare
disparately enforcing its dress code, and by preventing certain employees from working shifts at other Star- bucks locations.
The company had offered business justifications for several of its actions, but the judge found the arguments were undermined by evidence that rules were used to limit union-related conduct and were not consistently enforced against other forms of employee activity.
Deliberate Intimidation Not Protected In a partial victory for the company, the Board
reversed the ALJ’s finding that Starbucks’ discharge of employee Iris Saenz was a violation. After a union meeting, Saenz pursued a Starbucks regional vice president for nearly two city blocks shouting threats, taunts, and profane comments at him. Starbucks dis- charged Saenz for her conduct “due to the fact that she was not following our guiding principle of treating people with respect and dignity.”
The Board considered whether the NLRA protected Saenz’s conduct because she had been at a union rally prior to the event. “Employees are permitted some lee- way for impulsive behavior when engaged in concerted activity,” the Board said, but added that “this leeway is balanced against an employer’s right to maintain order and respect.”
The Board applies four factors to analyze conduct that occurs in connection with otherwise protected ac- tivity: the place of the discussion, the subject matter, the nature of the employee’s outburst, and whether the outburst was provoked by an employer’s unfair labor practice. The Board found that when Saenz engaged in deliberate intimidation, she lost the act’s protection. Of the four factors, the Board said only the subject matter weighs in favor of protection of Saenz under the act. n
Sample Letter After Card Signing
Dear Employee, A BIG MISTAKE HAS BEEN MADE. I have been informed that employees have signed
cards saying they wanted a union here. First, I want you to know that I do not care whether
or not you signed a card. There will be no consequences to you if you did or did not sign the card.
However, I am concerned with making sure you understand what a BIG MISTAKE this is. I want to outline below some information that perhaps you’re not aware of regarding unions and the false pretense under which many of you may have signed these cards.
I believe you are being taken advantage of. Have you looked into unions in general, and in particular this union??? Unions survive by adding members who pay dues, who pay their salaries. The union trying to get the right to charge you dues, Local 210, has lost MORE THAN HALF OF ITS MEMBERS IN THE PAST FEW YEARS ALONE! Why would members leave the union unless the union was NOT delivering on promises they offered? ALSO—if the union gets in, your paycheck will be drastically REDUCED! You will each spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars each year on union dues—so you can pay the people that run this union hundreds of thousands of dollars a year taken from hard-working people like you.
THEY NEED YOU TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THEIR SALARIES. WHOSE BEST INTEREST DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY HAVE IN MIND— THEIRS OR YOURS?
I have been told that many of you were tricked into signing these union cards. You either did not know what you were signing or you signed under the false pretense that your supervisors Joe and Miguel signed the cards. They did not sign—and do not want to unionize. Some of your co-employees here have had bad experiences in unions before and absolutely DO NOT want to unionize, because all a union does is take money out of your own pocket.
Understand that the union did not create your job. We did. The union did not hire you. We did. The union did not provide you with the highest yearly pay you have ever earned. We did. The union did not give you job security. We did. The union did not make our product. We did.
You should know that this is the WORST time to even think about unions: unemployment is the highest it has been in our country for a long time, many compa- nies are going out of business or laying off employees, we have not made a profit in months, and my partners and I have stopped taking a paycheck from the com- pany so that we can keep the company going. Even with the bad times we have experienced, our company, YOUR company, made many improvements.
We gave you raises, health insurance, and dental; added air conditioning; started Pizza Fridays, built a more comfortable workplace; and have attempted to save our company and give you job security. We have
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