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Busy day for Buffalo Starbucks stores involved in unionization process

Monday marks the first day of contract negotiations for stores that voted to unionize in December, and three stores are being sent ballots for a union vote.
Credit: AP
Starbucks employees and supporters react as votes are read during a union-election watch party on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. Starbucks workers have voted to unionize over the company’s objections, pointing the way to a new labor model for the 50-year old coffee giant. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — There is a lot of activity with Starbucks stores in the Buffalo area that are involved in the unionization process Monday. 

According to a release from Starbuck Workers United, not only are ballots being mailed to three stores in Buffalo that filed to hold a union vote, Elmwood voted back in December to unionize begin contract negotiations on Monday. Additionally, another Buffalo store has filed to hold a union election vote as well. 

Stores at Sheridan Drive and Bailey Avenue in Amherst, Walden Avenue, Anderson in Cheektowaga, Transit Road, and French in Depew will have their ballots mailed today. Those votes will be counted on Feb. 23.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled earlier this month those three stores will vote separately by mail-in ballot.

Starbucks Workers United announced that among 16 additional stores filing for unionization, the Buffalo store at Delaware and Chippewa has filed as well.

Many of the other stories filing Monday are in New York State. Three are in Ithaca and two are in Rochester.  

“This is a historic day. We’re looking forward to bargaining to get a contract that we can both be proud of,” said Michelle Eisen, a leader at the Elmwood. “We’re also calling on Starbucks to end their war against unions. You can’t sit across the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith with us while actively and aggressively trying to bust our unions across the country.”

On Monday, 2 On Your Side reached out to Starbucks for comment and a spokesperson directed us to a letter released in December

"From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we do not want a union between us as partners, and that conviction has not changed. However, we have also said that we respect the legal process. This means we will bargain in good faith with the union that represents partners in the one Buffalo store that voted in favor of union representation. Our hope is that union representatives also come to the table with mutual good faith, respect, and positive intent."

Starbucks noted that only the Elmwood store is undergoing contract negotiations, not the Genesee store. 

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