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Starbucks Workers’ Union Efforts Spreading to More Branches



First US Starbucks to be unionized on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY | Starbucks Workers’ Union Efforts Spreading to More Branches | featured

Starbucks workers are pushing for more branches to unionize. A few months after workers managed to unionize a Buffalo, NY corporate store, the union drive is getting more attention.

RELATED: Buffalo, NY Starbucks Workers Vote To Form 1st Union

Starbucks Workers in 54 Stores in 19 States Pushing For Union

worker at Starbucks Cafe | Starbucks Workers in 54 Stores in 19 States Pushing For Union

Starbucks workers from 54 stores in 19 states are now actively pushing for unionization. Employees are petitioning federal labor officials to schedule union votes for their respective branches.

The push coincides with the start of contract negotiations between the coffee chain and the Buffalo unionized workers. 

Last December, Starbucks workers from three New York branches held union elections. Two out of the three locations voted in favor, which unionized 64 workers.

Meanwhile, another 30 employees from Mesa, Arizona are finishing up their voting by mail. Additionally, another three Buffalo locations will start voting this week. 

Union Efforts Still A Fraction Of Total Starbucks Stores

Despite the seemingly vibrant activity, union efforts by Starbucks workers comprise only a fraction of Starbucks’ nearly 9,000 stores.

The Buffalo unionization, especially since it received massive attention at the time, became a watershed moment for Starbucks. Restaurant workers are among the least unionized jobs in the United States. 

Meanwhile, Starbucks itself remains in a bind. As calls to unionize grow louder, the company will find it more difficult to contest each effort.

The high profile of unionization is galvanizing awareness among Americans across the country. This might help reverse flagging union membership rates. In fact, Amazon workers are now gearing to retry union votes. 

Pro-Union Workers Want Better Staffing, Training, and Pay

Specifically, Starbucks workers are calling for better staffing, training, and pay. Workers also want to unionize in order to get a direct line to management.

With the Buffalo workers joining Workers United, an affiliate to the strong Service Employees International Union, negotiations will start soon.

This process will usually take some time. Starbucks workers in Canada finalized their contract in June 2021, nearly a year after voting in August. 

Meanwhile, Starbucks has yet to comment on the matter. However, they already made their feelings known much earlier.

In a December note to staff, the company said they will bargain in good faith. However, management does “not want a union between us as partners.”

Not Pro-Union

Hours before the union vote in Buffalo, Starbucks announced raising starting pay to $15 an hour. Employees longer than two years will also receive boosts in pay.

The company also promised to install changes to training and scheduling programs.  In the Arizona vote, the company filed an appeal to stop the vote. It argued that all locations should vote and not just some. Starbucks lost the appeal. 

Watch the CNBC Television video reporting that Gen-U Starbucks baristas are behind the Starbucks union push:

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