Starbucks ‘partners’ continue to find success in union efforts

The organizing momentum of Starbucks employees shows no signs of stopping, after several stores in the Buffalo, N.Y., area successfully voted to join Workers United this week.

The now national movement among employees of the coffee chain has found success where it all began; Workers at two sites in Buffalo NY became the first in the United States to successfully organize in December 2021, after decades of union-busting efforts by the coffee behemoth’s executive management.

This victory has now inspired dozens of other stores to plan and organize their own elections to join the group associated with the Service Employees International Union. This most recent victory included stores in Cheektowaga, Amherst and Depew. According to figures released by the National Labor Relations Board, all three elections were held with very slim margins.

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The victories did not come easy for workers, who described their employer’s union-busting tactics, which included closing stores amid organizing efforts, as well as changing and transferring employees in an attempt to thwart them. dissuade them from continuing their organizing efforts. Starbucks says the company works best when “partners” at its more than 8,000 locations have direct contact with management.

Employees are calling for improved wages, staffing and benefits. The Seattle-based company raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour in October 2021, which many say is no longer the goal of a living wage in many major cities across the United States.

According to reports from NPR, about 130 stores in two dozen states have requested union votes, a number that is expected to continue to rise thanks to recent victories in New York.

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