The outlet in the suburb of Cheektowaga, near Buffalo, voted 15 to 9 in favour of unionizing with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.
The initial vote took place in December 2021, but it was confirmed on Monday by the National Labor Relations Board, making them one of the first out of more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. to unionize. Starbucks is considering whether to appeal to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision to allow unionization, and has ten days to do so. In the initial vote the labor board sided with the Starbucks union disregarding votes against unionization, citing these employees worked at a different store, which Starbucks may choose to appeal. BREAKING NEWS: Genesee St. becomes the second unionized Starbucks in the United States! — SBWorkersUnited (@SBWorkersUnited) January 10, 2022 The company has insisted its stores function better when there is a direct relationship between management and the employees, and not through a third party. “We’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us at Starbucks, and that conviction has not changed,” a Starbucks spokesman speaking to Reuters said. In a statement distributed by Workers United, the Cheektowaga store shift supervisor, Lexi Rizzo said, “Finally, the partners feel we have a voice at our workplace.” The vote to implement unions at the two store in Buffalo has had a knock on effect, with individual stores across the U.S. in Massachusetts, Arizona, Oregon, Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee and Seattle petitioning the labor board for union elections. Another three stores in Buffalo are also seeking to hold union votes, AP News reports. Starbucks employees at a store in Buffalo made a historic move this week when they voted 19 to eight in favor of unionizing. https://t.co/c1ZEIOmbVi — Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 10, 2021 Starbucks has made several changes to support staff throughout the pandemic, they provide sick pay as well as full pay for up to two self-isolation periods, if one of their employees catches coronavirus, and the stores are regularly cleaned and sanitized. In some areas with high coronavirus cases, Starbucks operates a “grab and go” policy to protect staff and customers alike.
These precautions however did not stop employees from the original unionized Buffalo store from walking out, and demanding Starbucks do more to protect them on the 5th of January 2020, forcing Starbucks to close the store. Starbucks employees alter a campaign sign during a press conference after their union-election viewing party Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. Starbucks workers at a store in Buffalo, voted to unionize on Thursday, a first for the 50-year-old coffee retailer in the U.S. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex) On top of the above ‘safety’ measures Workers United on behalf of the Starbucks employees demanded workers are given the power to enforce mask mandates for customers as well as for Starbucks to provide employees with N95 masks, coronavirus testing kits and hazard pay. Employees returned to the store on Monday 10th of January, with a mediation of more hand washing and the implementation of the cafe sanitization routines the employees had requested.
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