Contesting the merits of a complaint involving our Heritage District stores

Last week, Region 19 of the National Labor Relation’s Board (NLRB) issued a consolidated complaint and notice of hearing regarding our long history of co-creation and collaboration sessions and formation of our Heritage District in Seattle. We firmly believe that the complaint has no merit and the remedies proposed by the General Counsel undermine our ability to make lawful and appropriate business decisions that advance the Starbucks experience for our partners and our customers.

Listening to and working side-by-side with our partners is core to our Mission and Values, and has helped to differentiate Starbucks as a supportive, partner-first company. Co-creation and collaboration sessions targeted by Workers United and NLRB Region 19 are a continuation of a decades long practice of hosting open forums between senior leaders and partners.

These sessions and the feedback loop they create are core to our culture of listening to and learning from partners across our global footprint — and throughout our history, partner feedback has helped inform and drive forward the innovations and investments that now define the Starbucks experience.

Starbucks Pike Place storefront, one of three Seattle-area stores that comprise our Heritage District.

Furthermore, NLRB Region 19’s proposal to dissolve our Heritage District undermines the interests of our partners and the unique experience our customers have come to love and expect. The Heritage District is comprised of our original Pike Place store, our 1st and Pike store, and our 1st and University store, which operate as a single unit to provide an immersive experience showcasing our company’s past, present and future. 

Partners working at our Heritage District stores rotate between all three stores and receive both specialized training and higher pay for performing additional duties, like hosting immersion experiences and heritage tours. While we respect the rights of our partners to organize and engage in lawful union activities, Heritage District partners have not elected third-party representation.

Neither the facts in this matter nor established labor law justify the complaint issued — and NLRB Region 19’s proposed remedies run contrary to both the interests of our Heritage District partners and the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act. For partners who may be concerned about what the complaint means to them, there will be no near-term impacts to the operation of our Heritage District or our long-standing efforts to listen and learn from one another. 

As a next step, we look forward to defending our partner engagement efforts, lawful business decisions and interests of our Heritage District partners at a hearing scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in December 2023.