Chile: Starbucks anti-union ruling upheld

Oct. 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM
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SANTIAGO, Chile, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The Chilean Supreme Court has upheld an appeals court order that Starbucks Corp. pay a $50,000 fine and sign a contract with an employees' union with 10 days.

The appeals court found the company, based in Seattle, violated labor laws by firing union leaders, misinforming workers to avoid strikes, using scheduling to interfere with strike votes, and providing legal aid to pro-management employees, the Santiago Times reported Wednesday.

"We hope that the punishments given by the Chilean courts to Starbucks Coffee will cause a change in the mentality necessary to approach our relationship," Starbucks Workers' Union President Andres Giordano said in a statement.

Starbucks said in a news release it "is committed our central mission of sharing our success," with its workers.

"We believe that this positive work environment, together with the highest benefits and compensations in the market are appreciated by the great majority of our workers in this country. Our salary and benefits together exceed the average in our industry by 30 percent, making Starbucks one of the best places to work in Chile," the company said.

Starbucks workers went on strike in 2011, demanding cost-of-living wage adjustments, proper work clothing and a lunch bonus, as well as higher wages for employees who worked in isolation, the Times said.

The Chilean Department of Labor fined the company $25,000 in August for anti-union practices.

Starbucks operates in more than 30 locations in Chile, mostly in Santiago, the newspaper said.

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