The National Labor Relations Board announced Monday that it had certified a union’s victory at a second Starbucks store in the Buffalo area, where the votes were counted in December but remained inconclusive as the union disputed the ballots vote of several employees to whom he declared not to work. the shop.
The labor board declared the union the winner at another Buffalo-area store during the Dec. 9 vote count, and the union lost an election at a third store.
The board agreed with the union that disputed ballots should not count, giving the union a 15: 9 victory. None of the approximately 9,000 other Starbucks locations operated by the company in the United States have a union. .
Labor experts said the creation of a second unionized store in the same market could give a significant boost to the union, Starbucks Workers United. The union is part of Workers United, an affiliate of the giant Service Employees International Union.
Under U.S. labor law, employers are required to bargain in good faith with a union that has won an NLRB election, but they are not required to reach agreement on a contract. As a result, winning a contract often forces unions to exert economic pressure such as a work stoppage, which a second store could make more efficient.
Last week, several workers at the first unionized store near Buffalo quit their jobs over concerns over rising rates of Covid-19 infection. The workers said they income Monday.
The newly unionized store, near the Buffalo airport, filed for a union election in late August, with the other two stores voting in December. The union formally opposed the election result, which it lost, and this objection is pending before the labor committee.
Starbucks has 10 business days to appeal the ruling announced on Monday. If the request were filed and refused, the result would become final. A spokesperson for the company said Starbucks is assessing whether or not to appeal and believes its employees’ voices should be heard.
Throughout last year’s union campaign, Starbucks sent managers and a senior manager to Buffalo to try and fix operational issues like understaffing and poor layout of some stores. Officials often questioned employees at their workplaces and helped with menial tasks like littering.
Several union supporters said they were intimidated by the presence of officials and confused by other disruptions to their working lives, such as the company’s decision to temporarily close some stores and send employees to other locations. .
Since the initial victory in Buffalo, workers at several other Starbucks stores across the country have filed for union election, including in Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Knoxville, Tenn.
“Today we ended Starbucks’ delay attempts and formed our union,” said Alexis Rizzo, a shift supervisor at the second unionized site, in a statement, adding, “We demand that Starbucks shut down its union. in Buffalo and across the country … immediately. No other partner should have to go through what we’ve been through to have a voice at work. “
Starbucks has denied that it has sought to intimidate employees, but said it prefers its employees not to unionize.
Last week, the Federal Labor Commission scheduled an election for a Starbucks store in Mesa, Arizona, where workers had filed documents in November. Ballots for the election will be mailed out Friday and must be returned by January 28. Workers in more than 10 other locations, including three in the Buffalo area, are still awaiting decisions from the board of directors on whether and when to hold the election. Appointment.