The National Labor Relations Board on Friday ordered union elections at three Starbucks stores in the Buffalo area, where two other Starbucks stores voted to unionize late last year.
The union victories created the only two unionized Starbucks locations out of approximately 9,000 owned stores in the country. The union lost at a third store in the Buffalo area, but has formally objected there.
The ballots for the upcoming Starbucks elections will be sent to workers on January 31 and must be returned by February 22. The votes are counted the next day by the labor council.
As workers at three locations in the Buffalo area sought union elections for the first time in late August, employees at at least 15 other Starbucks stores have filed for election petitions, the most since the union council announced a union victory in Buffalo on Dec. 9.
The campaigns appear to be driven by young, liberal and well-educated Starbucks employees in cities such as Boston, Chicago and Knoxville, Tennessee, who are generally sympathetic to unions and spurred on by Buffalo’s victory. The company’s employees have traditionally been more liberal and educated than those of other retail and dining establishments. They also tend to be paid better and enjoy more generous benefits.
The three stores in Buffalo, where employees will vote this month, have filed petitions ahead of their November election.
After the union campaign formally began there in August, Starbucks officials from out of town came to the city to resolve operational issues and educate workers about what union membership would entail, the company said.
Many workers in Buffalo have said they found the presence of out-of-town officials disturbing and felt that the officials were intimidating workers when she considered supporting the union.
In addition to the Buffalo elections, the Labor Council has scheduled an election this month for a Starbucks store in Mesa, Arizona, where workers also ran for election in November.