Update: Three more New York Starbucks stores will become unionized after the majority of employees at the locations voted, narrowly, to form unions. There are now six unionized Starbucks stores in the US, five of them in New York and one in Arizona, the AP reports. Union supporters say Starbucks used intimidation tactics to press workers to vote no, allegations the company denies. "Starbucks has not made this about whether or not you want to vote for a union, they've made it about whether you want to keep your job, whether you want to keep your hours, whether or not you want to be bullied at work," says one organizer of the movement. Our original story from Dec. 9 follows:
Starbucks workers are about to be unionized for the first time in the US. Workers at a store in Buffalo voted to form a union, despite strong opposition from the chain's executives, reports the Washington Post. Both the Post and NPR use "watershed" to describe the moment. Workers at three stores in the city voted on whether to unionize, and results from the other two stores were still being hand-counted. Once the 19-8 tally is certified by the National Labor Relations Board, the staffers will join Workers United, an arm of the Service Employees International Union. Certification is expected to take about a week, per the AP.
“We have no accountability right now. We have no say,” said Casey Moore, a Buffalo Starbucks worker who helped organize the vote. “With a union we will actually be able to sit down at the table and say, 'This is what we want.'" The yes vote is expected to lead to other unionization efforts at Starbucks stores elsewhere. Already, three other Buffalo-area stores and another in Arizona have begun pursuing unionization. Starbucks successfully fought off such efforts previously in New York City and Philadelphia, though it failed to do so in a store in Canada last year. (Read more Starbucks stories.)