New York Starbucks becomes second branch in the country to form a union

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CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WIVB) — A second Starbucks location in the Buffalo area has joined a union, the National Labor Relations Board confirmed Monday.

The Genesee Street location in Cheektowaga became the second Starbucks store in America to unionize, joining the Elmwood Village location that history made by voting for unions early December.

The Genesee Street venue seemed on track to unite in their ballot last month, but results were delayed by eligibility issues for some voters. The vote was confirmed on Monday in a 15-9 victory for the union.

Starbucks has 10 business days to file a review request with the NLRB on the disputed votes. If awarded, the results can be assessed.

“While most of the world saw us win on December 9, today is a special day — today we ended Starbucks delaying attempts and formed our union at the Genesee Starbucks,” Lexi Rizzo, a shift chief at the Cheektowaga location, according to a press release. “Finally, the partners feel we have a voice in our workplace – this is an emotional day for all the partners here who have fought so hard to make our voices heard in the work we do. Now we’re asking the same thing Elmwood is asking: We want a fair contract, and most importantly, we demand that Starbucks stop their union breakdown in Buffalo and across the country immediately. No other partner should have to go through what we’ve been through to have a voice at work.”

Union workers at the Elmwood Village site ran off the track last week due to what they described as unsafe working conditions due to Covid-19 concerns. The workers returned to work on Monday, according to the union’s Twitter account:end the strike.”

Elsewhere, a Starbucks store in Cleveland said it was too looking for a union. A Boston Starbucks followed Buffalo’s lead last month.

Three other locations in the Buffalo area are also seeking to unionize, but have not yet voted. Those locations are Sheridan Drive and Bailey Avenue in Amherst, Walden Avenue and Anderson Road in Cheektowaga, and a Depew location on Transit and French roads. Union efforts at a site in Hamburg were defeated.

Elmwood Starbucks workers have not yet started negotiating a new contract with Starbucks.

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