The Seattle Starbucks union vote was unanimously approved in the company’s hometown

Starbucks Barista Gianna Reeve, a board member in Buffalo, New York, speaks on behalf of Seattle employees who announced unionization plans at a rally on January 25, 2022 at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle.

Jason Redmond | AFP | Getty Images

Starbucks bartenders on Tuesday voted in favor of unionization on Tuesday, the first in the company’s hometown.

The Seattle location on Broadway and Denny Way brings together six other Starbucks coffee shops in Buffalo, New York and Mesa, Arizona, with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, deciding to form a union. The only location in the Buffalo area voted against unionization, giving Starbucks Workers United an 88% win rate.

The union’s push is one of the challenges facing Howard Schultz as interim CEO after returning to the helm of a company that helped grow into a global coffee giant. From April 4, Schultz will take over the post, with General Manager Kevin Johnson retiring and the committee seeking a long-term replacement.

Under Schultz’s leadership, Starbucks gained a reputation as a generous and progressive employer, a position that is now in jeopardy as the union gains strength and employees share their grievances.

Nine employees at the Broadway and Denny Way location voted in favor of the union, with no votes against. One vote was contested and therefore not counted. Six other union locations in Seattle Starbucks are running for election, including the company’s flagship Reserve Roastery, a striking cafe designed to compete with more stylish cafes.

The early victories of the Buffalo union have prompted them to organize other places in the nation. More than 150 Starbucks coffee shops have submitted union elections to the National Labor Relations Council, all in the past six months.

However, only a small part of the company’s overall footprint has been taken by the union’s impulses. Starbucks has nearly 9,000 locations in the U.S.

The regional director of the National Labor Relations Council will now have to secure the Seattle vote, a process that could take up to a week. Then the union has its next challenge: to negotiate 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.

At its annual meeting of Starbucks shareholders on Wednesday, President Mellody Hobson said the company understands and accepts 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.

“When you think back to why we are bowing to Howard at the moment, it’s that connection to our people where we think he’s capable of acting in a way that will make a difference to our people,” he said.

Schultz appeared in Buffalo ahead of the local union election to try to dissuade workers from voting for the union, to return to the company and move closer to the organization’s impetus.

The Seattle Starbucks union vote was unanimously approved in the company’s hometown

Source link The Seattle Starbucks union vote was unanimously approved in the company’s hometown

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