Second Starbucks store near Buffalo votes to unionize

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A second Starbucks store near Buffalo, New York has voted to unionize.

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Store workers in the suburb of Cheektowaga voted 15–9 in favor of representation from Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The National Labor Relations Board confirmed the vote on Monday.

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A spokeswoman for the company said Starbucks is evaluating its options and may appeal. The company has 10 business days to file an appeal with the full labor board. If the appeal is denied, it must bargain with the union.

Union spokesman Richard Bensinger said on Monday that the Labor Board had sided with the union and rejected the votes of six workers who had only briefly worked at the Cheektowaga location. Bensinger said the results of the Hamburg store were yet to be decided.

Starbucks has more than 8,000 stores in the US

Starbucks says its stores work better when it works directly with employees, not through a third party. But the company has said it will begin the bargaining process with the downtown Buffalo store.

“The results of the vote will not change our shared purpose or how we represent each other,” Starbucks executive vice president Rawson Williams said in a recent letter to employees.

Lexi Rizzo, shift supervisor at the Cheektowaga store, said it was an emotional day for workers who supported the union.

“Ultimately, partners feel that we have a voice in our workplace,” she said in a statement distributed by Workers United.

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