While Starbucks may have lost their recent battle over unionization in Buffalo New York, that isn’t putting off owners of Pittsburgh coffee chain, The Coffee Tree Roasters who are engaged in a familiar sounding battle with their employees.

In managing their side of the campaign, the Pittsburgh-based company appears to be taking a page from Starbucks’ playbook.

Employees said that owners of the company have intensified efforts to stop a unionisation drive launched by their workers in December.

Low wages, inadequate staffing, and lack of COVID-19 safety measures have been complaints. The chain is also accused of firing a barista for advocating unionisation, and this has led to charges now being filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

Baristas are seeking union recognition from United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). They announced they would be holding their first union election days before Christmas. 

Subsequently, a campaign of intimidation followed, according to reports, including secret filming, and firing of barista’s sympathetic to the vote.

The tactics were a visible failure for Starbucks, so it’s unclear why The Coffee Tree is following the same behaviour, while hoping for a different outcome. 

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