We are going to become the first union Starbucks in the United States. It’s been disappointing to see Starbucks working overtime to try to stop us from organizing, but today’s decision is a big win and soon we’re going to have an even bigger victory when we vote our union in.— Michelle Eisen a local Starbucks partner and member of the SBWorkersUnited organizing committee.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Today, the Acting Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Buffalo office issued a decision that Starbucks partners will vote in separate union elections at our individual stores, as we requested. This marks a significant victory in our union campaign. We have been fighting for our right to unionize and have a voice and a true partnership within the company. Starbucks has met our efforts with delay tactics, hostility, and intimidation, but this decision shows they are not prevailing.
"We are going to become the first union Starbucks in the United States. It’s been disappointing to see Starbucks working overtime to try to stop us from organizing, but today’s decision is a big win and soon we’re going to have an even bigger victory when we vote our union in," said Michelle Eisen, a local Starbucks partner and member of the SBWorkersUnited organizing committee.
Starbucks partners will be holding a press conference tomorrow at 11:00 am at the Tri-Main Centre (2495 Main St. Buffalo, NY, 14214, Suite 556).
Partners at the Elmwood Avenue, Genesee Street, and Camp Road stores filed three individual petitions with the NLRB in September asking for individual votes on whether we wanted to unionize. Decades of federal labor law precedent back up individual stores as appropriate units. However, anti-union companies often try to hold larger votes to disrupt local efforts. Starbucks attempted this in Buffalo, but failed.
The speed and clarity of the NLRB decision also makes clear that Starbucks’ decision to raise legal issues before union votes were even held was a delay tactic. The company forced a six-day hearing at the NLRB over the issue of whether we should vote in store-level elections. Despite this, the NLRB office issued its decision in less than two weeks, and dismissed every argument Starbucks made.
Starbucks’ attempts at delay have been coupled with an intense anti-union campaign. The company has held numerous anti-union meetings to spread misinformation and try to scare us out of organizing. Starbucks has also flooded stores with out-of-town executives in order to spy on, coerce, and intimidate us, likely in anticipation of the company losing at the NLRB.
The union elections for the three stores will be held by mail ballot between November 10 and December 8. The ballots will be counted by the NLRB on December 9.
Today’s decision is a victory for us as Starbucks partners, and for all workers facing similar petty delay tactics and anti-union campaigns across the United States. We look forward to our union elections, and view today’s success as an exciting milestone on the path to winning a true partnership with the company.
Media Contact: SBWorkersUnited Organizing Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org Workers United Upstate New York, SEIU