Starbucks has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging union representatives unlawfully recorded bargaining sessions for workers who couldn’t attend, the company said Monday.

The charges are specific to meetings in Chicago; Buffalo, New York; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Louisville, Kentucky; and Long Beach, California.

The union announced Tuesday it is also filing charges with the NLRB, arguing Starbucks is failing to bargain in good faith.

“Broadcasting or recording these in-person sessions is deeply concerning and undermines the interests of our partners,” Seattle-based Starbucks said in a statement.

Within five minutes of the negotiations, company representatives walked out of the five collective bargaining sessions Monday, the first day of negotiations, after members of the Workers United labor union joined the meeting online.


The labor union said in a tweet that Starbucks walking out “is simply a childish tactic for the company to delay bargaining even more.”

The NLRB prohibits recordings or transcripts of contract negotiations and has previously argued against recording bargaining sessions.

Workers United argued that there was no recording of bargaining that took place. Starbucks is refusing to bargain because some members of the bargaining committee are joining remotely, the union said.

“In correspondence leading up to these bargaining sessions, the union made clear that it was reserving the right to have bargaining members participate by Zoom when necessary and appropriate,” the union said in a statement.

Starbucks is in the midst of more than 40 bargaining sessions scheduled for October and November, including one with workers from an Olympia store.

As of Wednesday, 239 stores across the U.S. have unionized. One of the latest to unionize is in Bellingham.

The NLRB said last month that it had 326 open unfair labor practice cases against Starbucks. And the agency in August alleged Starbucks was violating U.S. labor law by withholding pay increases and other benefits from workers at stores that have voted to unionize.