Employees Push to Unionize at More Than 50 Starbucks Locations

Employees Push to Unionize at More Than 50 Starbucks Locations starbucks workers from buffalo speak at seattle rally in support of stores that want to unionize

Starbucks barista Casey Moore, part of the organizing committee in Buffalo, N.Y., speaks on Jan. 25, 2022, at a rally in Seattle in support of workers at Seattle Starbucks locations that announced plans to unionize. (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)

By Nicole Wells | Monday, 31 January 2022 06:39 PM

Following the lead of workers at a Buffalo, New York, store last month, employees at more than 50 Starbucks locations have petitioned to unionize, according to the Workers United labor union.

An affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, Workers United is organizing the Starbucks campaign and said on Monday that 15 more stores filed for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board.

''Our movement is only growing,'' the labor union tweeted. ''Partners around the country are standing up for what's right and we couldn't be more inspired!''

In an indication that the organizing effort is spreading quickly, 54 Starbucks locations in 19 states have petitioned to unionize.

Starbucks has cautioned its employees against unionization and urged them to resist the effort. Last month, the Seattle-based coffee chain said it did not want unions acting as the middleman between the company and its workers but said it would ''respect the legal process'' and ''bargain in good faith'' with the Buffalo store that voted 19-8 to unionize.

''Our hope is that union representatives also come to the table with mutual good faith, respect and positive intent," Rossann Williams, the company's president of retail for North America, wrote in a letter to employees.

After a 15-9 vote earlier this month, a separate Buffalo location became the second Starbucks store to unionize. According to Workers United, another store is awaiting election results and a fourth store in Arizona will count votes on Feb. 16.

Labor organizers say the unionization of one Starbucks store in Buffalo could be ''the tip of the iceberg.''

''The pandemic has laid bare the typical lip service that workers get,'' Christian Sweeney, deputy organizing director of the AFL-CIO labor union, told NBC News. ''There's been lots of praise for people doing grunt work,'' but few worker gains, he said.

''Workers doing essential work have higher expectations that they're going to see wages and benefits reflect the essential nature of their work,'' Sweeney added.

Organizing activity is growing at restaurants and other food establishments and among e-commerce delivery and distribution center workers, he said.

Original Article