Starbucks Union Notches Another Victory With Eighth Store

The union organizing Starbucks workers extended its winning streak on Friday, adding an eighth store to the list of unionized locations.

Employees at the store in Mesa, Arizona, voted to join Workers United by a count of 11 to 3, according to a vote tally conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. That brings the union’s success tally to five stores in the Buffalo area, two in Mesa and one in Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle.

The coffee chain has roughly 9,000 corporate-owned stores around the country, of which those eight are the first to unionize. The newly organized shops represent a tiny fraction of Starbucks’ overall workforce, but the union has petitioned for elections at 150 stores in 27 states, making it almost certain more workers will join.

Bradley Logue, a barista at the Mesa store that unionized Friday, said in a statement through the union that he appreciated other stores leading the way. “This is our opportunity to speak up and have a voice for ourselves. We’re doing this not only for us, but for future generations, too,” Logue said.

The union’s win in Arizona comes on the heels of a win in Seattle earlier this week, where a group of nine workers voted unanimously to form a union.

Starbucks has resisted the organizing effort and tried to dissuade workers from supporting the union in elections. Workers United has accused Starbucks of illegally retaliating against pro-union workers, charges the company has denied. The labor board found merit in the union’s claims related to a store in Phoenix.

A company spokesperson told HuffPost earlier this week, “We still believe in Starbucks’ direct relationship with our partners, but will continue to respect the [legal] process.”

Labor activists hope the success of the Starbucks campaign so far will serve as a breakthrough in the broader food service industry, which is predominantly non-union. A mere 3.1% of workers in food preparation and service are union members, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The union density rate for the broader private sector is just 6.1%.

Sydney Durkin, who works at the Seattle Starbucks that unionized, said Tuesday that their campaign could be “taken as a blueprint and done anywhere.”

“Other places can and absolutely should do what we do,” Durkin said.



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