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Second Starbucks store wins union recognition after US labour board ruling

STARBUCKS workers at Buffalo’s Genesee Street cafe became the latest to join the Starbucks Workers United revolution sweeping the United States after voting in favour of union representation.

The National Labour Relations Board ruled in favour of the global coffee chain’s employees, who had voted to unionise by a margin of 15 to nine.

Starbucks challenged the initial count, claiming that some of the votes had been cast by workers at another branch. 

The labour relations board ruled that these ballots were ineligible, but their exclusion was not enough to prevent the union making Genesee Street the second Starbucks cafe to win union recognition.

“While most of the world saw us win on December 9, today is a special day — today we put an end to Starbucks’ delay attempts and formed our union at the Genesee Starbucks,“ said shift supervisor Lexi Risso.

“Finally, the partners [Starbucks jargon for workers] feel we have a voice at our workplace. This is an emotional day for all partners here who have fought so hard to make our voices heard in the work we do. 

“Now we’re asking the same thing Elmwood is asking: we want a fair contract and, most importantly, we demand that Starbucks stop their union-busting in Buffalo and across the nation immediately. 

“No other partners should have to endure what we went through to have a voice on the job.”

Starbucks has waged a bitter campaign to try to deter workers from organising, including spending millions of dollars on hiring a notorious union-busting company.

Bosses have described unions as “a barrier” and admit they do not want them to have a presence in Starbucks workplaces.

In December, workers at the Elmwood branch in Buffalo became the first to unionise. They returned to work earlier this week after going on strike over Covid safety fears.

Michelle Eisen, who played a leading role in the unionisation drive at Elmwood, congratulated workers at Genesee Street.

“We are so excited to be joined in bargaining by another store and that stores in other cities like Boston, Arizona, Knoxville, Seattle and Chicago are also moving forward,” she said.

“Working together, we’re going to make Starbucks a better place for partners to work and customers to visit. It’s time for Starbucks to end its anti-union campaign and negotiate with us.”

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