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The Starbucks Workers United hub in Buffalo, New York on November 16, 2021. (Photo: Libby March for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Starbucks Workers United hub in Buffalo, New York on November 16, 2021. (Photo: Libby March for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Organizers Herald 100th Win as Starbucks Unionization Wave Continues

"Howard Schultz and Starbucks are getting creamed in union vote after union vote."

Andrea Germanos

The tally of unionized Starbucks locations is continuing to swell, with the latest additions coming after pro-unionization votes late last week in Seattle and Birmingham, Alabama.

The coffee giant's CEO "Howard Schultz and Starbucks are getting creamed in union vote after union vote," labor journalist Steven Greenhouse tweeted Saturday.

By the union's count, there are now 100 stores across the nation that have unionized.

The milestone was achieved after successful votes Friday at two stores in Seattle.

The Eastlake store employees won their effort to collectively bargain in a landslide 12-0 vote, while the Union Station store voted 6-3 in favor, local KOMO News reported.

A day earlier, the store on Birmingham's 20th Street South became Alabama's first Starbucks to back unionization after a 27-1 vote Thursday.

Kadarius Perkin, a shift supervisor at that store, declared after the vote, "Our voices will be heard," according to AL.com.

"Starbucks has until later this week to file any objections with the National Labor Relations Board," The Associated Press reported Sunday.

Workers at hundreds of Starbucks stores have filed to unionize since the first successful union drive in Buffalo, New York late last year.

According to Matt Bruenig, founder of People's Policy Project, "a trickle of election filings" that started last year "has built to a wave—and Starbucks workers are winning in location after location."

Bruenig analyzed data from the National Labor Relations Board, writing in an op-ed published last week at Jacobin that out of 89 union elections that had taken place at Starbucks, the union prevailed in 77 locations—87%—of them.

Those wins, he noted, came despite "a fierce campaign against the union, prompting a torrent of unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against the company."

John Logan, a professor and director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University, also pointed to that campaign in a recent op-ed at Jacobin in which he described Starbucks as worthy of the title "worst worker rights violator."

Contributing to the "union-busting lawlessness," wrote Logan, is the company's firing of over 20 union activists and announcement of a benefit increase to stores that have not unionized.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has previously boosted Starbucks workers' unionization efforts and told Schultz as he resumed his position as CEO this year, "If Starbucks can afford to spend $20 billion on stock buybacks and dividends and provide a $20 million compensation package to its CEO, it can afford a unionized workforce that can collectively bargain for better wages, better benefits, safer working conditions and reliable schedule."

"Please respect the Constitution of the United States and do not illegally hamper the efforts of your employees to unionize," Sanders wrote in a March letter to the billionaire executive.

Sanders reiterated that message in a tweet on Friday.

"Congratulations to Starbucks Workers United for winning the 100th union election at Starbucks coffee shops all over America," he wrote.

"I say to Howard Schultz: Stop the union-busting," he continued. "Obey the law. Negotiate a fair contract with your workers now—no more delays. Enough is enough."


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