Court Sides With Starbucks In Dispute Over Labor Union Pins

You won’t be seeing Starbucks baristas sporting aprons covered in Industrial Workers of the World pins anytime in the near future, after a U.S. appeals court ruled today that the coffee company is within its rights to stop employees from wearing too much of the pro-union flare.

The dispute, between Starbucks by the National Labor Relations Board, centered on just how many pro-union buttons a Starbucks employee could wear at any one time. The company’s policy had limited it to one, but an NLRB ruling said employees were not limited in the number of buttons they chose to pin to their uniforms.

“We conclude that the Board has gone too far in invalidating Starbucks’s one button limitation,” wrote the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that the company had a right to limit the distraction that may be caused by an employee wearing too much pro-union flare. Court documents referenced one NYC Starbucks staffer who wore eight buttons to work.

The Starbucks policy limited each employees to one IWW button that was less than 1″ in diameter.

Starbucks issued the following statement to Consumerist:

We are pleased by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling today, which we view as an affirmation of the progressive and positive workplace we strive to create for our partners (employees).

We’ve also NLRB and IWW for comment and will update if anyone actually replies to our requests.

Starbucks baristas can’t be union billboards-court [Reuters]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.