Starbucks employees in Buffalo attempt to unionise to tackle chronic issues
- Employees filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board
- Issues faced by workers include understaffing and insufficient training
- Starbucks has no unions at its more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the US
Employees of three Starbucks coffee shop branches in New York's Buffalo. on Monday, filed petitions at the National Labor Relations Board demanding a vote on union representation, according to US media reports.
The new petition sought to address problems at the coffee giant such as insufficient training, understaffing, unpredictable scheduling and other chronic issues, according to statements given by some employees to the New York Times.
The employees also wanted to unite under a common banner that is being labeled as Starbucks Workers United, according to reports from Associated Press.
A joint letter formulated by an organising committee consisting of about four dozen Starbucks employees was sent to Kevin Johnson, the CEO of the beverage giant, demanding assurances that employees who support the idea of a union would not face reprisals.
In a statement, the company said: “We respect our partners’ right to organize but believe that they would not find it necessary given our pro-partner environment", according to reports from Associated Press.
Starbucks has no unions at its more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States. It is appealing a ruling by an NLRB administrative law judge in June that it unlawfully retaliated against two Philadelphia baristas who sought to unionize.
The efforts of unionising employees in Buffalo would keep reportedly keep the impact to a minimum. Even if the campaign is successful, the unions will only remain in the area and not expand to other localities.
However, workers of Starbucks in Buffalo say that they have already garnered more than enough support to qualify for a vote.
Starbucks, which refers to workers as partners, says it offers “world-class benefits,” including health coverage, paid time off, parental leave, 401(k) and stock incentives and full college tuition through Arizona State’s online degree programs, according to reports from Associated Press.
(With AP inputs)