Labor council certifies first union in U.S. Starbucks store
National Labor Relations Board confirmed vote to form a union at Starbucks store in Buffalo
âWe don’t want to fight Starbucks – we’re asking them to turn the page,â said Jaz Brisack, organizer of the store, one of three Starbucks stores in New York City that called on the labor council for a union election in October. .
Voting ended last week and the board certified the results of the 19-8 Buffalo employee vote on Friday.
Workers United, the union representing the employees, filed formal objections in the other two elections Thursday evening, delaying certification. The objections say Starbucks waged a “shock and fear” campaign designed to dissuade workers from voting to unionize.
The 50-year-old has been actively fighting unionization for decades, saying its more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States perform best when working directly with employees.
Workers at a store in the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg voted 12-8 against a union. The outcome of a Cheektowaga store’s vote could not be determined as the two parties contested seven separate votes. Union organizers said six of the votes were cast by ineligible employees.
If the outcome of the ballot challenges favors unionization, organizers will drop the objection to Cheektowaga’s results, lawyer Ian Hayes said.
The objections say that Starbucks employees “were subjected to a massive campaign of overwhelming psychological force from the moment they publicly expressed a desire to form a union.”
Dozens of managers have been dispatched to denounce the efforts in one-on-one and group meetings with employees, the documents show. Workers were told they could lose their benefits as part of a union, and pro-union employees were spied on and had their schedules changed and hours reduced.
The actions disrupted “laboratory conditions” considered necessary for a fair election, the union said.
âThese claims are grossly inaccurate. We do not and do not engage in bullying tactics, âStarbucks responded in a statement. âWe are partners and we present ourselves for each other. This is what we do and what we continue to do.
If the NLRB determines that the claims could constitute grounds for quashing an election, it would order a hearing to determine whether a new election should be held.
Workers at the three stores began voting by mail last month to see if they wanted to be represented by Workers United, a branch of the Service Employees International Union.
After the Buffalo vote, Starbucks workers at two locations in Boston petitioned the NLRB for a union election. Three other Buffalo-area stores and one store in Mesa, Ariz., Have also filed petitions with the labor council for their own union elections. These cases are pending.