Press Release

Partners ask Starbucks to turn a new leaf as their union is legally certified

By Starbucks Workers United

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) confirmed today that Workers United will be certified as the bargaining representative for partners at the Starbucks Elmwood location. Partners made history last Thursday when they won an election to form a union, the first of its kind among Starbucks corporate stores in the United States. The certification means that Starbucks must recognize Workers United, the union representing Starbucks Workers United as the bargaining agent for partners. With this news, we are reiterating their request that Starbucks accept the certification, drop its historic anti-union campaign, and sign the Starbucks Agreement for Equity and Sustainability agreeing to respect the right to organize and bargain a contract that will set a new industry standard.

“I know so many of us are struggling to recognize the original company we started working for. Starbucks was supposed to be a company founded on nurturing the human spirit and yet it’s clear they spared no expense to try to stop the movement in Buffalo - but today was a big step forward. Our union is certified and we're offering an olive branch to Starbucks. We're asking them to put the past behind us, to sit down at the bargaining table to show the world they're ready to bargain with their partners,” said Michelle Eisen, a leader at the unionized Elmwood location.

"We don't want to fight Starbucks - we're asking them to turn over a new leaf. We're asking them to drop this anti-union campaign and end this union busting. We have to ask, why are abusive out-of-state 'support' managers still in our Buffalo community? On the day of the election we asked Starbucks to sign a set of principles. Those principles mean Starbucks would recognize our vote and sit down to negotiate a contract that both the partners and Starbucks can be proud of. We hope Starbucks takes this opportunity to sign the agreement, respect all of their partners' right to organize, and sit down with their partners at the bargaining table.” said Jaz Brisack, another leader at the Elmwood store.

Attorneys working on behalf of the partners filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in regard to the vote undertaken at the Camp Road Starbucks store. The newly-formed union, which won a historic victory last Thursday by winning a union at the Elmwood store and a clear majority of eligible voters at the Genesee location, contends that the anti-union campaign undertaken by Starbucks corporate was so intense at the Camp Road store that it dramatically and negatively affected the result of the vote. An objection is a process whereby the partners can challenge the results of the election itself. This process is separate from the challenging of individual ballots that occurred last Thursday during the count.

“We are filing objections to the results of the vote at Camp Road because there’s no question the company’s anti-union campaign caused those results. We saw Starbucks run an overwhelming and coercive campaign for months, and we believe we can prove to the NLRB that the company’s actions permeated the environment at Camp Road, negatively affecting everyone who voted. Under the law, voters are supposed to experience ‘laboratory conditions’ in the time between asking for an election and casting their vote, so they can make a rational decision based on their interests. Starbucks spent millions and did everything it could to comprehensively deprive partners of such conditions. The company robbed Starbucks partners of a fair vote. We are fully confident that the NLRB will come to that conclusion swiftly, and that partners at Camp Road will be able to have their voices heard clearly at the end of that process,” said Ian Hayes, an attorney representing the union.


Workers United, the international union representing Starbucks Workers United, also represents more than 86,000 workers in the apparel, laundry, food service, hospitality, non-profits, warehouse distribution and manufacturing industries in the United States and Canada. The organization is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA.

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