Starbucks Workers Win Union Election – A First In The Company’s History

Workers at a Starbucks in Buffalo, NY are officially union.

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) counted the ballots today, declaring that the a majority of the workers voted yes to join a union.

The campaign to unionize the stores has been a bitter one as the company used a variety of union-busting tactics in a futile effort to persuade the workers to stay non-union.

These tactics included bringing in more management into stores to work alongside workers (a presence that workers called “imposing”), mandatory union-busting meetings for employees, letters to employees asking them to vote no, and in-person talks by former Starbucks CEO, Howard Shultz, which included a bizarre reference to the Holocaust of all things.

Today’s victory has the potential to be a watershed moment for workers and their unions. Starbucks has a huge workforce of 349,000 employees. It has stores in virtually every city in the U.S. It is likely that workers at other national chains – food and retail – will feel motivated to consider unionizing after seeing that, yes, workers can unionize a historically non-union behemoth of a company.


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