SANTIAGO Oct 8 Chile's Supreme Court has upheld
a fine of about $50,000 slapped on Starbucks Corp over labor
practices, after unionized workers claimed the coffee shop chain
threatened layoffs, benefit cuts and illegally replaced workers
during a strike.
Last year, Starbucks was hit by its first strike at a
company-owned store, with workers in Chile seeking pay that
keeps up with inflation, a $100 monthly lunch stipend, as well
as other benefits.
"We hope the Chilean justice's punishment of Starbucks
allows for a change of mentality," Andres Giordano, a Starbucks
union president in Santiago, said in a statement on Monday.
Starbucks is seen as having some of the restaurant
industry's best pay and benefits, which has helped it fend off
union organization efforts in the United States, where the chain
has the vast majority of its sales.
Santiago's court of appeals had issued the fine.
Chile's labor department in August blacklisted local units
of Starbucks and retailer Wal-Mart over labor practices,
preventing them from bidding to supply local government offices
for two years.
Starbucks was not immediately available for comment.