“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,” Johnson said.
Starbucks had appealed an Oct. 28 ruling by an NLRB regional director saying that the unionization vote could move forward on a store-by-store basis. If the company had gotten its way, union organizers would have had to win a majority of votes from across the company’s 20 Buffalo-area stores, which could have been a much more difficult task than winning votes at three individual stores.
Starbucks Workers United, which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, initiated the unionization effort at three stores: on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, on Genesee Street in Cheektowaga and on Camp Road in Hamburg. Together, those stores employ about 100 people who can vote in the unionization election.
Since the baristas at those stores started the effort to organize, workers at three more local stores – at 4770 Transit Road in Depew, at 3186 Sheridan Drive in Amherst and at 1775 Walden Ave. in Cheektowaga – have also asked the NLRB for the go-ahead for a unionization vote. Workers at a Starbucks in Arizona are trying to unionize, too.
The union on Tuesday said it was filing petitions with the National Labor Relations Board to conduct votes at Starbucks stores at 4770 Transit Road in Depew, 3186 Sheridan Drive in Amherst, and 1775 Walden Ave. in Cheektowaga.
The three stores where union elections will conclude Wednesday would be the first in the 8,000-store Starbucks chain where workers are unionized. But Starbucks has pushed back hard against the unionization effort, sending executives to Buffalo to push the idea that a unified company offers workers a more flexible work environment, where they can move from store to store to pick up shifts.