On Monday, a second Starbucks location in the Buffalo, New York, area received clearance to organize a union, the latest indicator of an increasing labor effort at the coffeehouse behemoth.
The National Labor Relations Board approved the workers’ 15-9 unionization vote at a second Starbucks site in the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga. It is the second of more than 8,000 company-owned locations to establish a union.
When the votes were counted on December 9, the outcome was initially unknown. After siding with the union’s assertion that some votes should be considered ineligible, labor officials reached a final conclusion.
Starbucks has 10 days to file an appeal before the verdict becomes final. According to a Starbucks spokeswoman, the corporation is weighing its options.
Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, was elected to represent Starbucks employees in Cheektowaga.
“Finally, the partners feel we have a voice at our workplace — this is an emotional day for all partners here who have fought so hard to make our voices heard in the work we do,” Lexi Rizzo, identified as a shift supervisor at the second unionized Starbucks location, said in a Workers United statement.
“Now we’re asking the same thing Elmwood is asking — we want a fair contract and, most importantly, we demand that Starbucks immediately halt their union-busting in Buffalo and around the country,” she added.
The Cheektowaga location was certified just weeks after workers at the Elmwood Starbucks in Buffalo formed the first-ever unionized location. Union workers at the Elmwood store walked out last week, citing “unsafe working circumstances” as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 case surge, but they returned to work on Monday.
Starbucks refused the union’s allegations of harmful working conditions.
The unionization campaign at several Starbucks locations has garnered national attention in recent weeks, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) among those expressing support with the workers. Individual Starbucks outlets in numerous states, including Arizona, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Washington, are organizing labor.
Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James praised workers at the second Buffalo-area business on their unionization efforts.
“I applaud Starbucks employees in Buffalo on successfully unionizing two shops in the area and creating an irrefutable momentum,” James said in a statement. “I am confident that we will continue to see more effective organization efforts across the country, and I will continue to support workers in this critical struggle.”