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Starbucks Workers Unionizing in Process

Workers at a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, won a vote to unionise on Thursday, making it the first company-owned location in the United States to do so.’ Elmwood Avenue shop was the first to unionise, with a 19-8 vote. A triumph for the workers after a fight for the right to organise their own elections. Starbucks Workers United, which has the support of the larger Workers United union, was granted permission by the National Labor Relations Board in October to hold separate elections at three Buffalo-area sites.

Starbucks‘ effort to hold a single vote with 20 outlets in the region was denied by the board. Another in the neighbourhood, on Camp Road, voted 8-12 against unionisation. Two ballots were disputed, and one was annulled. As some votes were challenged, the final count at the third location, Genesee Street, has been postponed.

On Thursday, there were 15 votes in favour of unionisation and nine votes against; the seven challenged ballots might influence the outcome, according to NBC station WGRZ. Starbucks representative Reggie Borges remarked over the phone: “Every partner is important. It’s how we built the firm, and it’s how we’ll keep running it. We will continue to focus on providing the best Starbucks experience possible to all of our partners and consumers.” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has backed the unionisation drive.

He and workers had a livestreamed town hall meeting on Monday to explore the benefits of unionisation. Sanders congratulated the Elmwood site on their historic triumph on Twitter on Thursday. Workers at the store addressed their aspirations for better pay and leave rules at the town hall on Monday, and decried what they said were the corporation’s attempts to break the union. Michelle Eisen, who worked for the corporation for 11 years, claimed that “support managers” were dispatched to their workplaces to quash union discussions.

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