Starbucks' Union-Busting Campaign Before Judge

Brewhaha over coffee bosses' plot to stop baristas from organizing
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2008 3:05 AM CST
Industrial Workers of the World has been trying for years to get Starbucks employees to organize, but they've had little success - only a few dozen of the coffee chain's 150,000 employees are members.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Starbucks bosses trying to stop baristas from union organizing did some internet sleuthing to discover who had graduated from a university labor program—and even had Halloween partygoers snooped on, the Wall Street Journal reports. Starbucks' own emails detailing "our attempts to thwart a potential union situation" by identifying pro-union workers are now before a New York judge looking into claims the company violated labor laws.

The Industrial Workers of the World union has been trying to organize Starbucks workers since 2004 with little success—only a few dozen employees have joined. Some experts insist Starbucks didn't break any laws by snooping to determine who was pro-union, but the emails will embarrass the coffee chain and likely give the union's organizing efforts a jolt.