It becomes Starbucks ’9th New York City Reserve Roastery union cafe

Staff are serving customers at a newly opened Starbucks’ Reserve Roasteries in New York City, Meatpacking District, on December 14, 2018.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Starbucks bartenders at the New York City Reserve Roastery voted 46-36 in favor of forming a union on Friday, and could be more personal by giving a temporary blow to CEO Howard Schultz.

This is the ninth Starbucks union owned by The Reserve Roastery. On Tuesday, the National Labor Relations Council counted the votes for a Knoxville cafe, but a contested vote cast doubt on the results of that effort. The union won by a single vote. Last week, a coffee shop in Starbucks, his hometown of Seattle, and a second place in Mesa, Arizona, also voted in favor of the union.

So far, only one party has held elections and voted against the unionization of Workers United, an affiliate of the International Service Workers Union. However, the union called for union elections for Roastery’s manufacturing workers, who were due to vote on Thursday.

The win over Starbucks Workers United on Friday represents more than just a place in the growth of union cafes. Starbucks opened a nearly 23,000-square-foot coffee shop in December 2018 in the Manhattan Meat Collection District under the tenure of CEO Kevin Johnson. But the luxury store and others like it were the idea of ​​former CEO Schultz, who is reinstating his temporary job on Monday as Johnson retires.

“I am proud of our workplace to be more democratic and fair at the height of our efforts. The community is a value close to my heart and a value we love and I am grateful and happy to have solidarity with my peers,” said 9-year-old Starbucks partner Ley Kido.

Reserve Roasteries, located in cities such as Seattle, Shanghai and Milan, was intended to be an immersive and luxurious coffee experience to attract tourists and citizens alike. Schultz wanted to open several dozen, but Johnson said in 2019 the company would reduce those ambitious plans. The last one opened was launched in Chicago that year.

Friday’s vote was at the first New York City Roastery Starbucks first election in person, rather than by postal vote.

]People left the newly opened Starbucks’ Reserve Roasteries in the Meatpacking District on December 14, 2018 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

The growing momentum of Starbucks unions will be one of the challenges Schultz will face as he once again takes over as CEO. In his previous days as CEO of the coffee chain, Starbucks gained a reputation as a generous and progressive employer, as the image is now in jeopardy as the union gains strength and employees share their grievances.

The chain is far from being the only company that sees a decline in wages and working conditions through union representation. Earlier on Friday, Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted to make it the union’s first e-commerce facility. And in March, employees of Manhattan’s flagship REI Co-op voted to form the company’s first union in the U.S.

The National Labor Relations Commission filed a lawsuit against Starbucks in early March for retaliation against two Phoenix employees who were trying to organize. The union has also complained that Starbucks has been involved in union fraud in many of its stores. The company has denied the allegations.

The early victories of the Buffalo unions have prompted other Starbucks locations to organize nationwide. More than 150 coffee shops owned by the company have filed for election to the National Labor Relations Board, including elsewhere in New York City. Staff at Manhattan’s Astor Place cafe began voting for the mail-order election on Friday.

That’s just a small part of Starbucks ’overall footprint, though. The company has nearly 9,000 locations in the U.S.

The NLRB regional director will now have to secure the vote, a process that could last up to a week. Then the union faces its next real challenge: negotiating a contract with Starbucks. Labor laws do not require the employer and the union to reach a collective bargaining agreement, and contract discussions can be extended for many years.

A few weeks ago at Starbucks ’annual shareholders’ meeting, President Mellody Hobson said the company understands and supports the right to organize employees.

“We are also negotiating in good faith, and we want a constructive relationship with the union,” he said.

Earlier in the day, he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that Starbucks had “made some mistakes” when asked about the union’s push.

It becomes Starbucks ’9th New York City Reserve Roastery union cafe

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