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Starbucks workers vote to unionise in historic decision

STARBUCKS workers at a branch in Buffalo, New York, have voted to unionise for the first time in the United States.

The National Labour Relations Board announced on Thursday that workers had backed union representation at the Elmwood Avenue location, one of three branches in Buffalo where elections were held, by 19 votes to eight.

A second Starbucks branch rejected the union by 12 votes to eight, but the union said it might challenge that result because it was not confident that all eligible votes had been counted.

The result at a third branch could not be determined because both sides challenged seven separate votes.

Michelle Eisen, a barista who has worked for 11 years at the Elmwood branch, called the decision “a historic moment in time.”

She said: “This win is the first step in changing what it means to be a partner at Starbucks and what it means to work in the service industry more broadly.

“With a union, we now have the ability to negotiate a contract that holds Starbucks accountable to be the company we know it can be and gives us a real voice in our workplace.”

In response to their win, workers at Elmwood are asking the company to sign the Starbucks Agreement for Equity and Sustainability.

The document calls on Starbucks to recognise the Workers United union, agree to stop interfering in future union organising efforts and bargain with workers in good faith to foster the principles of equity, diversity, and sustainability.

Workers United international president Lynne Fox said: “I want to welcome our newest members …

“This campaign was driven by the partners [as Starbucks calls its workers] and they deserve all the credit for their courage and determination to fight for the collective interest of their colleagues.”

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