- Starbucks workers in Buffalo, New York voted for the chain’s first US union in December.
- Now workers at other locations are pushing for union votes, according to reports.
- So far there are reported campaigns in Arizona, Boston, New York, Seattle, and more.
Starbucks officially has its first unionized company-owned US store in Buffalo, New York, and the successful campaign is inspiring baristas across the country to organize their own stores.
The Elmwood location in Buffalo was one of three that were voting on a unionization drive over the last few weeks. It was the only store that definitively voted in favor of the union so far. The unionization vote failed to pass at a second location by a vote of 12 to eight, though a lawyer for the union indicated a possible future challenge over votes he says were not counted. At the third location, yes votes were leading 15 to nine, but the NLRB was unable to call the election because of ballots challenged by both parties.
Here are some other locations where Starbucks workers are reported to be organizing unions.
Six employees at a store in Mesa, Arizona announced plans to organize their Starbucks location in mid-November. The workers wrote a letter to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.
“We are organizing a union because we feel that this is the best way to contribute meaningfully to our partnership with the company,” workers wrote in the letter. This location appears to still be in the early stages of the organizing process.
Buffalo, New York
Workers at three more Buffalo stores have filed paperwork to hold their own votes. which have not yet been scheduled. The stores are located in Buffalo suburbs of Cheektowaga, Amherst, and Depew. The NLRB is currently reviewing workers’ petitions for elections and testimony from recent hearings before it will make a decision on holding elections, WIVB reported.
Workers at two Boston area stores, in Allston and Brookline, announced plans to organize unions at their locations on December 13. They are working with the Workers United Labor Union, the same organization that workers in Buffalo organized with. So far, 36 out of 47 workers at the two locations have signed cards showing their intent to form a union, organizing members told WGBH.
“Buffalo is that first domino, and we hope that the Coolidge Corner and Allston stores can be the next domino here in Boston,” Kylah Clay, a member of the organizing committee, told WGBH. The Boston workers cited stores in Buffalo and Arizona as part of the inspiration behind their drives.
Starbucks workers at a location in Seattle filed to hold a union vote with the NLRB on December 20, The Seattle Times Reported.
“We do not see our desire to unionize as a reaction to specific policies, events, or changes, but rather a commitment to growing the company and the quality of our work. We see unionizing as a fundamental and necessary way to participate in Starbucks and its future as partners,” four organizing workers wrote in a public letter to CEO Kevin Johnson.
Starbucks started in Seattle 50 years ago and is still headquartered in the West Coast city.
“Starbucks started here in Seattle 50 years ago and we intend to make the next 50 even greater with a union,” workers wrote in the letter.
Starbucks employees at a Knoxville, Tennessee location filed a petition to hold their own union election on December 23.
“It would be truly nice to have an equitable partnership with this company that I love working for,” organizing committee leader Maggie Carter said in a statement.
Workers at a Chicago Starbucks requested to hold a vote to unionize their store, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Employees at the Wabash Avenue store told the paper that they want more say in pay and working conditions, and they’re concerned about safety.
“We don’t feel our safety issues are being listened to by the company,” shift supervisor Brian Zurek said, adding that the store needs a security guard at certain points in the day.
Pete DeMay, an organizing director with Workers United, said that he anticipates an NLRB hearing later in January, with a vote to follow a few weeks later.
Workers at the Colorado location filed to hold a vote at the same time as their Chicago peers, per the Sun-Times. A letter to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson was signed by 13 employees, while others remained anonymous.
The letter acknowledges the other union campaigns as inspiration, reading: “As our fellow partners in Buffalo, Boston, Knoxville, Seattle, Mesa, and more have demonstrated, we believe there is no true partnership without the sharing of power, influence, accountability, and success.”
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