Starbucks workers at three Buffalo stores win right to organize!

Buffalo, New York – Starbucks workers at three stores in the Buffalo area got a big victory in their fight to organize!

Starbucks workers at three stores in the Buffalo area will be able to cast their votes on unionization starting in November.
Starbucks workers at three stores in the Buffalo area will be able to cast their votes on unionization starting in November.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Thursday ruled the stores can hold union elections starting in November, though they decided against allowing 20 stores in the region to come together for a single vote.

If they vote in favor, the Starbucks locations would become the first in the nation to unionize.

Around 128 employees will be casting their mail-in ballots between November 10 and December 8. The NLRB will count the ballots on December 9.

The win is particularly significant since Starbucks workers in the Buffalo area said the company has used aggressive anti-union strategies to discourage employees from organizing.

In a video shared by More Perfect Union, employees described these various methods, including anti-union meetings full of veiled threats and scare tactics as well as incessant visits by top corporate leaders.

"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," Starbucks Workers United member Michelle Elsen told the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Starbucks released a statement, saying, "Our storied success has come from our working directly together as partners, without a third party between us. We remain focused on supporting our partners as well as maintaining open, transparent and direct conversations throughout the process."

The company is reportedly reviewing its options going forward.

The Starbucks decision comes as workers in various frontline industries across the country are demanding better wages and benefits in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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