Capital Region Baristas Say Yes To Union; Which Starbucks Is It?
It’s a venti-sized debate making national headlines: now one Capital Region Starbucks has officially voted to unionize.
One of the largest labor stories of 2021, Starbucks baristas are taking on their parent company under the flag of Starbucks Workers United. More than 200 cafes out of the 9,000 in the US have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to unionize, stating a desire to give employees a fair say in pay and staffing.
Starbucks reinstated Howard Schultz as interim CEO last month to combat both sliding stock and the union campaign. Schultz, who left the company in 2018 to explore a 2020 Presidential run, made headlines from a leaked video call with company manages where he disparaged union efforts from “so-called workers.”
The most controversial move is that Schultz announced Starbucks would give, at minimum, a 7% pay raise to all employees, except at cafes that have already unionized or that have expressed intent to vote. Companies are legally required to not-interfere in unionizing efforts, but some decry Schultz’ methods as coercion, at best.
New York State became home to the first SWU-represented Starbucks in the States, when a Buffalo location voted in December of 2021. Several more Buffalo locations have followed suit.
So Where Is The Capital Region’s First Union Starbucks?
The Latham Plaza Starbucks voted 8 to 6 in favor on Tuesday night, as reported by Spectrum. Employees at the 1210 Schenectady Road location stated they feel an increasing corporate slide, compared to the small-business environment the company publicly promotes. Starbucks released a statement in response to the Latham unionization, saying, “we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed.”
More Capital Region SWU-organized cafes may be coming in the near future; Stuyvesant Plaza café employees will vote in June, and a Malta location has sent a letter of intent to vote to Schultz, per WNYT.