A second Starbucks store near Buffalo, New York, has voted to unionize, one of a growing number of coffee chain stores seeking to organize workers.
Store workers in the suburb of Cheektowaga voted 15–9 in favor of representation from Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The National Labor Relations Board confirmed the vote on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the company said Starbucks is evaluating its options and may appeal. The company has 10 business days to file an appeal with the full labor board. If the appeal is denied, it must bargain with the union.
Last month, Starbucks workers voted to unite workers at a store in downtown Buffalo, making that store one of the first stores to unionize in Starbucks’ 50-year history. But at the time, the results of union elections in two other regional stores in Cheektowaga and Hamburg were unclear. The union and Starbucks both challenged the eligibility of some voters.
Union spokesman Richard Bensinger said on Monday that the Labor Board had sided with the union and rejected the votes of six workers who had only briefly worked at the Cheektowaga location. Bensinger said the results of the Hamburg store were yet to be decided.
Union’s victory last month has sparked a wave of interest in unionization at other Starbucks locations. Individual stores in Massachusetts, Arizona, Oregon, Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee and Starbucks’ home city of Seattle have petitioned the Labor Board for union elections. Three additional stores in Buffalo are also seeking union votes.
Starbucks has more than 8,000 stores in the US
Starbucks says its stores work better when it works directly with employees, not through a third party. But the company has said it will begin the bargaining process with the downtown Buffalo store.
“The results of the vote will not change our shared purpose or how we represent each other,” Starbucks executive vice president Rawson Williams said in a recent letter to employees.
Lexi Rizzo, shift supervisor at the Cheektowaga store, said it was an emotional day for workers who supported the union.
“Ultimately, partners feel that we have a voice in our workplace,” she said in a statement distributed by Workers United.