Starbucks announced it was shuttering a store that recently voted to unionize. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
Three Starbucks locations in Ithaca, New York voted to unionize recently, after one of its locations went on strike due to a safety concern over an overflowing grease trap. Shortly thereafter, Starbucks announced it was permanently closing that store because of the grease trap issue—but the union says that closure is in retaliation for the worker’s vote to unionize and say that’s illegal. If Starbucks decision were in retaliation for the union—a claim Starbucks denies—would it be illegal to close the store?
Well, no business has to keep operations open against its will, but it can’t only close the unionized parts of its operations. Starbucks, though, has 50 unionized locations that are still open and closed the one with a safety issue severe enough the workers struck over, so they may be able to show it wasn’t retaliatory. It’ll be a latte for the courts to decide.