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30 Congress members send letter to Starbucks, urging cooperation with unions

Members of Congress are urging Starbucks to work with the unions that have sprung up at nearly 250 stores in the United States, saying they're concerned about reports of withheld pay and other accusations of union busting.

A letter signed by 30 lawmakers was sent to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Oct. 3. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle is the only Washington House member to sign the letter.

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The effort was led by U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna of California who told MarketWatch that Starbucks "could set a model for the food and drink industry in America" and "could rightly say they’re being progressive," if it supports the union efforts across hundreds of its stores.

The lawmakers also note they're concerned about reports of pay increases and benefits going only to stores that are not unionizing. Starbucks has said it prefers to talk directly with its employees about working conditions instead of through a union.

"As workers renegotiate the compact between employee and employer across workplaces nationwide, we encourage both parties to work together, mend differences and unite to help build an economy that works for everyone," the letter states.

Read the full letter here.

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