Starbucks V Sindicato de Trabajadores de Starbucks Coffee Chile S.A.

Overview

NCP Decision Accepted
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 28/05/2014
Date Closed 01/06/2015
Case Duration 52 weeks and 5 days
Host Country Chile  (OECD member)
Sector Hotel, Restaurant and Catering 
Issue(s) Anti-union campaign; interference with the right to organise; refusal to engage in collective bargaining on wages; retaliation against unionised workers; providing misleading information; corrupt practices
Provisions Cited I.2  II.A.2  II.A.10  II.A.11  IV.1  IV.2  IV.4  IV.5  IV.6  V.1-a  V.1-b  V.1-e  V.8   
Case Description In May 2014, the union Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Chile (CUT), together with the union Sindicato de Trabajadores de Starbucks Coffee Sociedad Anónima (STSCSA), submitted a case to the Chilean NCP regarding the anti-union practices of Starbucks in Chile that had been taking place since 2009. The case described: anti-union campaigns, interference with the right to organise and to bargain collectively, retaliation and discrimination against trade-unionists (including unjustified dismissals and changing work places), provisions of false information, and non-compliance with national legislation.

CUT and STSCSA submitted a joint complaint to the Chilean NCP after Starbucks Chile failed to change its behaviour, despite a court decision in favour of the unions.

Developments In October 2014, Starbucks Chile challenged the complaint on the basis that it was a Chilean enterprise that does not hold the multinational status of its US parent company, Starbucks Inc., and therefore is not subject to the OECD Guidelines. The Chilean NCP responded that Starbuck’s company structure is described as "horizontally integrated" – the bases of production may be in different countries, but they produce an identical or very similar product. Moreover, the NCP underlined that it is clear from the Starbucks Chile website that the enterprise is closely linked to its US parent company. The website outlines a shared origin of strategy and method of administration. Its policies, in particular, those related to matters of Corporate Social Responsibility, are identical to those of the US parent company.

By February 2015, both parties had agreed to mediation, which was led by the Chilean NCP. At the end of the second meeting, the NCP informed Starbucks Chile, in the interests of transparency, that both the NCP and the CUT had been invited to participate in TUAC’s Guidelines training event, taking place in Mexico City from the 23-24 April, 2015. The CUT representative had been invited to present on its experience of using the OECD Guidelines in Chile and in so doing, the presentation would touch on the conflict between CUT and Starbucks. To further promote transparency, the NCP then suggested a meeting between itself, the CUT representative, and the head of the legal team of Starbucks Chile, in order to review the issue and address concerns regarding the presentation. This meeting took place on 14 April 2015. On April 23, 2015 Starbucks Chile submitted a letter to the NPC in which the enterprise expressed anxiety over a perceived lack of impartiality on the part of the NCP. On 6 May 2015, Starbucks produced photographs of the CUT representative in attendance at the TUAC seminar, citing these as evidence of a breach of the Guidelines’ principles of confidentiality and good faith. Following Starbucks’ loss of confidence in the impartiality of the mediation process, the NCP closed the case. The NCP then issued a Final Statement, which included a strong set of recommendations, together with an analysis of the genesis of Starbuck's anti-union position.

Outcome After the case was closed, the parties announced that they had reached an agreement which included wage increases and monthly financial contributions from the enterprise towards union-organised social activities. This agreement was reached independently of the NCP.

This is a historic agreement as it is the first collective agreement in the history of Starbucks.

Trade unions consider that the Chilean NCP played a highly positive role in this case.

Organisations

Lead NCP Chile NCP : Single Government Department 

Companies

Multinational Company Starbucks Corporation (Home country: US)
Local Company Starbucks Chile (Home country: Chile)

Complainants

Lead Complainant CUT Chile : National Centre 
Lead Complainant Sindicato de Trabajadores de Starbucks Coffee Chile S.A. : Company Union 

Related Documents

[Publication date: 1/6/2015] 'DECLARACIÓN FINAL - Starbucks'
   http://www.direcon.gob.cl/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DECLARACI%C3%93N-FINAL..pd
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[Date URL accessed: 10/6/2015]

TUAC Analysis

Did the NCP publish its initial assessment? status-icon
Did the case involve parallel proceedings? status-icon
Was the existence of parallel proceedings an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Was the businsess relationship other than that of a subsidiary? status-icon
Was the nature of the business relationship an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its acceptance of this case? status-icon
Did the NCP offer mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the company accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the complainant(s) accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation held? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation conducted by a professional mediator? status-icon
Did the parties reach agreement? status-icon
If yes, did the NCP publish this agreement following the consent of the parties? status-icon
If mediation was refused or failed did the NCP make an assessment of whether the company had breached the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP conduct in-host country fact finding? status-icon
Did the NCP make recommendations to the company on the future implementation of the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP publish its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP provide for follow-up of the agreement/recommendations? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP inform public pension funds about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP apply any consequences in this case? status-icon
Did the NCP follow the indicative timescales set out in the procedural guidance? status-icon
Was there a positive outcome for the workers involved in this case? status-icon
Did the filing of the case under the Guidelines have a positive impact for the workers involved? status-icon
Did the lead NCP play a positive role? status-icon
If different, did the home NCP play a positive role? status-icon

TUAC Assessment

The Chilean NCP played a positive role in this process. TUAC was shocked to learn that Starbucks had attended its training event in Mexico City without invitation and without informing the organisers.