MARYSVILLE — The National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against Starbucks, alleging the company interfered with employees’ efforts to form a union at a Marysville cafe.
The labor board alleges Starbucks managers threatened employees at the Lakewood Crossing store and interfered with union activities, according to a copy of the complaint filed Tuesday and obtained by The Daily Herald.
Specifically, employees at the Starbucks were barred from wearing union insignia, while other insignia was allowed, the complaint states. Staff were also reportedly told they would be disciplined for sending group text messages or speaking on behalf of other employees.
In May, a store employee was denied a promotion and later fired because of her efforts to organize a union, the complaint continues.
A Starbucks spokesperson did not directly comment on the complaint.
Employees voted 9-4 for a union on June 21, making it the second Starbucks cafe in Snohomish County to unionize. The first was in Everett at Broadway and 37th Street. Since 2021, more than 220 Starbucks crews have unionized throughout the country, according to unionelections.org.
At the Marysville cafe, meanwhile, a five-year employee and mother of two said Thursday that Starbucks refused to accommodate her schedule when she returned from maternity leave.
Amber Weaver, 26, gave birth to her daughter Melody in late May. She returned Sept. 7. Weaver, a shift supervisor, said she told her store manager she was available for shifts Monday through Friday, reflecting the times she had secured child care for her 1-year-old son Ashton. Her mother cares for her infant daughter on weekdays.
The manager told Weaver she would need to be available to work on either Saturdays or Sundays, Weaver said. She searched for Saturday child care, she said, but options were “vastly out of my price range.”
On Monday, Weaver learned she had been removed from the schedule for the next three weeks. Initially, she was confused as to whether she had been fired.
“Either I’m being let go, or I need to be on the schedule,” she said Thursday morning. “I’m being put in limbo right now.”
By Thursday afternoon, however, Weaver learned she had been added back to the schedule, with shifts scheduled through Oct. 8.
Weaver’s manager called her with an update, several hours after a Daily Herald reporter reached out to Starbucks for comment. Screenshots sent to the Herald confirmed shifts had been added to Weaver’s schedule between Monday and Thursday.
It is not uncommon to ask supervisors to work at least one weekend day, Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges said in an emailed statement. He said the practice had been in place at the Marysville store and others in the area for more than five years.
“Partners are encouraged to discuss their hours and schedule with their store managers, and we regularly work with partners whose availability changes to look for other roles or shifts at their store or area stores,” he said.
Weaver said she didn’t know what to make of the situation. She expressed frustration Starbucks had initially refused to accommodate her availability request.
“This is a company that encouraged me to create a family,” she said, explaining she stayed with Starbucks to take advantage of six weeks of paid maternity leave.
“I’ve been there for five years, it’s my home. If I leave Starbucks, there will be a Siren-shaped hole in my heart,” Weaver said, in reference to the company’s logo.
She supported her store’s union effort earlier this year, adding she considered filing an unfair labor charge after she had been removed from the schedule.
Starbucks denied any retaliation for union activities.
“No Starbucks partner has been or will be disciplined or separated for supporting, organizing or otherwise engaging in lawful union activity,” the company spokesperson said.
The labor board, however, said Starbucks violated labor law in the complaint filed on Tuesday.
A hearing on the complaint is set for Nov. 29.
The labor board has accused Starbucks of more than 200 labor law violations.