Three more Starbucks locations in Buffalo area vote to unionize

The number of unionized Starbucks stores doubled after employees at three other Buffalo-area locations voted to join Workers United, a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.

The tallies at all three stores were close, with one location voting 8-7 and the other two voting 15-12 in favor of a union.

“It’s been a tedious legal process,” says Colin Cochran, an employee at one of the stores, noting that his location first requested a vote six months ago. “It shouldn’t be that hard…but in the end, winners win.”

Starbucks employees in Buffalo described enduring what they called union-busting tactics for several months, with one store closed for two months after calling for an election, and stores inundated with managers dispatched from across the country. Union organizers say it was an attempt to disrupt organizing efforts and dissuade employees from voting for a union.

The vote count, originally scheduled for last month, was delayed after Starbucks filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that Starbucks locations in the same market should vote in an election together, and not as individual stores, an argument he had made. in previous elections as well. The NLRB rejected the company’s demands, allowing the vote to continue.

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The union campaign among Starbucks workers gained momentum in December after two Buffalo stores became the first in the United States to unionize.

Earlier this year, workers at a Starbucks store in Mesa, Arizona, voted 25 to 3 to form a union, and today’s vote tally brings the total number of unionized stores to 6. Store workers in Seattle, Boston, Kansas City, elsewhere in western New York, among others, will vote soon, according to union organizers. About 130 stores, in two dozen states, requested votes, out of about 9,000 stores nationwide.

Union organizers say they are seeking better training, better staffing and better pay that will increase over time, as well as more respect from management.

In a memo to employees in December, Starbucks said it did not want a union between the company and its employees, called partners, but said it would negotiate in good faith, a promise it reiterated. after Wednesday’s vote count. Labor negotiations are already underway between Starbucks and the two Buffalo stores which unionized in December.

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