Two Starbucks stores in Boston filed a petition to vote on unionizing with the National Labor Relations Board on Dec. 13 following the labor organization’s victory in Buffalo. N.Y. last week. Additionally, three more stores in Buffalo have begun the process of unionizing, according to SBWorkers United, joining the newly unionized Buffalo store and other locations in Arizona that have are also looking to organize.
“We are organizing a union in Boston because we believe that this is the best way to contribute meaningfully to our partnership with the company,” a letter sent by Starbucks workers in the two Boston locations to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says. “We want to ensure that our voices are heard and that we have equal power to affect positive change for our store, district and company.”
Last Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board tallied votes for unionization at three Buffalo, N.Y.-area stores. The Elmwood store voted 19-8 in favor of unionizing, while workers voted 8-12 against unionizing at Camp Road, the second store eligible to vote.
The third location, the Genesee Street store, voted 15-9, with one vote shy of unionizing (NLRB stated a minimum of 16 ‘yes’ votes). There are currently seven votes being contested, with the union claiming that the voters do not currently work at the store in question. NLRB has stated that the challenges will be reviewed after the Dec. 16 deadline. As votes are being challenged, executive vice president Rossann Williams said that there will be "no immediate changes to our partner relationship” with the Buffalo-area stores.
Throughout the process of unionization for the first group of stores in Buffalo, SBWorkers United accused Starbucks of union-busting tactics like temporary tore closures and bolstering staff with new hires, and the company is currently under investigation by the NLRB for these accusations.
This time around, the Buffalo Starbucks Union claims that Starbucks is taking a more aggressive approach with the next group of Buffalo stores trying to unionize, stating that Starbucks has overstaffed the locations, sent corporate representatives to the stores around the clock, and is targeting pro-union employees for dress code infractions.
“This is a new level of retaliation, and it is unacceptable,” SBWorkers United said in a tweet. “This is not how a pro-partner company treats its workers. We treat every corporate person who comes into our stores with respect, and we deserve the same.”
In response to request for comment, Starbucks pointed to the letter sent to employees by Kevin Johnson which states that, "we respect the process that is underway and, independent of any outcome in these elections, we will continue to stay true to our mission and values."
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