Starbucks fights expanding unionization effort at its stores

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Starbucks is fighting an expanded effort to unionize its stores

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Starbucks is fighting an expanded effort to unionize its stores, even as the proceeds of a union vote at the coffee-chain’s three locations in Buffalo, New York.

Union organizers of three additional Buffalo-area stores appeared before the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday, asking each of their stores to hold a union vote. The workers say they want more input on wages and store operations and are seeking representation by Workers United, which is affiliated with the Service Employees International union.

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Starbucks’ attorney reiterated the company’s request to conduct a vote with all 20 stores in the Buffalo area at the hearing. The Labor Board hearing is expected to last for several days.

In late October, the Board of Labor in the Buffalo area approved union votes at three different Buffalo-area stores. Starbucks has appealed for a full Labor board decision in Washington, but voting began last month despite that appeal.

The Labor Board can count those votes by December 9. Starbucks has said that about 111 employees at those three stores are eligible to vote.

Starbucks has never unionized workers in the US in its 50-year history. The Seattle-based company says that its 8,000 company-owned U.S. stores function best when it has flexibility and can work directly with employees.

Starbucks attorney Alan Models noted Thursday that 45.5% of baristas and shift supervisors in the Buffalo area worked at more than one store in the company’s 2021 fiscal year, which ended October 3. This helps the company to meet the demand of customers at its locations, said Model.

Model told a hearing officer of the Labor Board, “It is not by chance, that you can go to any shop and enjoy the same food and drink in any shop, and his associates at any shop.” can work.”

“Labor relations happen at the store level,” he said. Hayes also said that it’s unusual to have baristas work at various stores.

If the National Labor Relations Board denies Starbucks’ request for a review of the regional decision, the ballots will be counted on December 9. If the full board decides to review the decision, the ballots will be forfeited until the board decides whether or not to keep. There is a regional decision.

Meanwhile, the federalization effort is spreading. On November 18, workers at a Starbucks store in Mesa, Arizona, filed paperwork for their own union election with the Labor Relations Board.

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