Starbucks workers form a union for the first time in the company’s history

Starbucks workers at a coffee shop in New York’s second largest city voted to form the first union in the company’s 50-year history, marking a major milestone in labor organization in the United States. a historic wave of worker action with the potential to spark similar campaigns at other stores.

On December 9, the National Labor Relations Board examined 27 votes selected from 36 qualified workers from a Buffalo store, with 19 votes for union and 8 votes against. , following a closely watched election that will resonate within the nation’s service-sector workforce.

Three stores in the Buffalo area held independent elections to determine if they should merge. Ballots from workers at two other stores are still being tallied by the nation’s labor council.

In a board filing, the Starbucks Workers Union campaign accused the company of “engaging in a campaign of intimidation, intimidation, surveillance, manipulation of grievances, and the closure of facilities.” before the election.

The company also appealed to the labor council for an “immediate” layoff to halt the election, arguing that a single vote should include all three Buffalo stores, rather than individual stores. .

Workers described a range of actions seen as attempts to discourage them from canceling their cooperation, from anti-union letters, texts and emails to weekly meetings with management warning that workers were may lose benefits or be promoted.

In September, several executives visited stores in Buffalo and began sweeping floors, emptying trash and talking to employees. In a statement in October, Rossann Williams, president of Starbucks North America, said she came to Buffalo “to witness first-hand the working conditions and operational challenges our partners have shared.” with us.”

Days before the election began, Starbucks closed stores in the area to invite workers to a volunteer talk from the company’s former CEO and largest shareholder Howard Schultz at a local hotel. He doesn’t explicitly mention the union campaign but addresses the company’s interests and learns from “mistakes” throughout the company’s history. He also drew parallels between the company culture and the experiences of Holocaust prisoners on carriages sharing a blanket.

In his first public comments after the union campaign, Kevin Johnson – the company’s CEO – said The Wall Street Journal that Starbucks’ efforts to unite workers “goes against having a direct relationship with partners that have served us so well for decades and allowed us to build this amazing company” .

In a statement to staff on December 7, Mr Johnson said he respected the union’s electoral process.

“We have listened to you and we are making progress on the toughest obstacles,” he said. “There is much more work to be done as we continue to adapt to the long-term Covid realities.”

This is a breaking news story. More later… Starbucks workers form a union for the first time in the company’s history


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