Thirty down, 235,000 to go. On Dec. 9, mail ballots were counted showing that workers at a Starbucks store in Buffalo, New York voted 19 to 8 to unionize with Starbucks Workers United, an affiliate of Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The store was one of three in Buffalo to hold union elections. The union lost 12 to 8 at a second store, but appeared to win 15 to 9 at a third store except that vote results were delayed pending a challenge by the union as to whether seven other workers were employees of the store. Meanwhile the union has asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a union vote at three more Buffalo locations.
Starbucks has fought unionization at its stores for decades. This time, company lawyers pushed to have all 20 Buffalo-area stores vote as one unit, but the NLRB said the store-by-store votes that union supporters proposed were acceptable. Company execs, even billionaire shareholder and former CEO Howard Schultz, trekked to Buffalo to talk workers out of unionizing
Some workers at Starbucks kiosks in grocery stories are union-represented, but that’s because they’re actually employees of the grocery. None of the approximately 8,000 company-owned Starbucks stores has ever unionized before now.