Three More Starbucks Locations in Buffalo Will Soon Vote on Unionization

A regional National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), official ruled Friday that three additional Starbucks stores in Buffalo will soon be subject to a union election. These elections will be the seventh total union elections held at corporate Starbucks locations in the past month.

Nancy Wilson, acting regional director at the NLRB wrote in her decisionThe vote will take place store-by–store and not on a regional basis that covers 19 stores as the company requested. Ballots will be mailed outYou must return them by February 22.

Workers at three New York stores – in Cheektowaga, Amherst and Depew – filed their petitions to unionize in November. If they succeed, they will be joining Starbucks Workers United, an affiliate of Service Employees International Union. They would join the two Starbucks locations located in Buffalo. Recently votedTo form a union.

Starbucks workers in Mesa Arizona are Currently, they are conducting their union electionAs the ballots were mailed out to workers on January 14, Similar to the NLRB Regional elections were ruled out, stating that the election would be held store by store.

The election comes at a crucial moment in the labor movement for Starbucks employees. Unionization has been underway in many locations across the country. It is a very fast pace.

Starbucks workers are in the middle of the weekend. BaltimoreAt Chicago’sHyde Park and Downtown La Grange locations made it clear that they will file petitions for election. This joins the nearly 18 stores from nearly a dozen States that have filed to unionize in the past few months.

Workers at Baltimore’s North Charles Street Starbucks location wrote in their letter to CEO Kevin Johnson that Buffalo was an inspiration for their union campaign. They further cited the dangerous working conditions imposed by the company, with “chronic understaffing and a complete lack of agency,” as well as pandemic concerns as a reason for the workers to organize.

The two unionized Buffalo locations “have provided a clear path for us to organize ourselves,” the workers wrote. “We’ve run ourselves ragged in increasingly stressful working conditions without reaping any of the benefits, and the only way to improve these conditions is to organize as a unified working class and assert democratic control over our workplace.”

Hyde Park workers said that customers have “become more aggressive” as the pandemic has dragged on, and the company has failed to recognize employees’ efforts as frontline workers. “[W]e feel that profits have become more important than our well-being, health, and safety,” they wrote. “Even amidst one of the worst global health crises, we have been discouraged from staying home when sick.”

Starbucks employees in many locations have complained about being encouraged to work when they are sick. As More Perfect Union uncoveredBrittany Harrison was forced to work by the company last month when she was sick with breast cancer. The company also denied her paid sick time. She was ultimately fired because she spoke out about the company’s union-busting practice as her store was unionizing.

The company has indeed been interfering with workers’ unionization efforts. Last year, It sentBuffalo store managers to intimidate workers, and possibly encourage them to vote for the union. Flat out told workersTo vote against the formation of a union held mandatory anti-union meetings to discourage workers from voting “yes.”