Starbucks Ordered to Comply with Subpoena Over Worker Organizing Campaign

Starbucks Ordered to Comply with Subpoena Over Worker Organizing Campaign

The coffee giant faces legal scrutiny over worker rights.

In a notable legal move, Starbucks Corp.—the global coffee company—has been ordered by a Seattle federal court to yield to a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) administrative subpoena.

According to a release dated Oct. 6, the court seeks documents for an ongoing investigation by the DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards into Starbucks Corp.’s expenses connected to a worker-organizing campaign in Buffalo, New York. The company has 14 days to comply and present the documents from fiscal years 2021 and 2022, proving fairness in its labor practices.

In this judgment, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington denied the company’s efforts to challenge the DOL’s subpoena power, deeming it a sound part of its investigation into Starbucks Corp. The company has repeatedly failed to present this documentation since the DOL filed a petition for it in May 2023.

“Congress has given the U.S. Department of Labor the power to issue subpoenas to investigate compliance with federal law under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act,” Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said in a statement. “We will not sit idly by when any company, including Starbucks Corp., defies our request to provide documents to make certain they are complying with the law.”

Founded in 1985, Starbucks operates over 36,000 stores in 83 markets around the world.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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