Starbucks workers in Buffalo vote to join union | Local News


The results of the Cheektowaga vote were not resolved on Thursday. Under the National Labor Relations Board’s procedures, the regional director will examine the ballot challenges and could order a hearing to resolve factual issues.

The votes counted Thursday for all three stores still need to be formally certified by the NLRB. Once all the votes are counted, both sides will have the chance to argue against certifying the results and submit allegations of misconduct during the election process.

Ian Hayes, a lawyer for Starbucks Workers United, said he will file an objection to the result for the Hamburg store. He said someone delivered three ballots to the NLRB’s building and slid them under a door that was connected to the NLRB’s address, but were not included in the count. Combined with two challenged ballots in that election, those votes could be enough to reverse the result, he said.

The organizing campaign was closely watched nationally because of its implications elsewhere for Starbucks and potentially other fast-food chains, where worker turnover is high and pay is toward the bottom end of the pay scale. Starbucks Workers United members say they are eager to start bargaining a contract with Starbucks for the Elmwood store’s workers.

“Every social justice movement has started from the ground up, from a handful of people who stepped forward to demand change,” U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, said in a statement. “It took incredible courage for Western New York Starbucks workers to speak out, forge ahead with organizing amid enormous corporate pressures, and fight to be heard.”