In a watershed moment for the recent wave of pandemic-inspired labor organizing, workers at a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, voted today to form the coffee chain’s first union in the United States.
Despite months of opposition from company leadership, 19 workers at the Elmwood location in Buffalo voted in favor of unionizing in the election, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. Only eight opposed.
Workers at a second Buffalo location, however, voted 8–12 against unionizing. At a third local store, workers voted 15–9 to unionize, but the outcome remains unclear pending seven challenged ballots.
Among the unionizing staffers’ major demands are steady pay increases for longtime employees and better training and staffing. The employees will join the Workers United union.
Watch workers at the Elmwood location the moment they realized they’d won:
BREAKING: Starbucks location on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo has voted to become Starbucks’ first unionized store in the U.S., by vote of 19-8.
Here was the moment workers realized they had enough votes. @WBFO pic.twitter.com/tHYY495Wjb
— Tom Dinki (@tomdinki) December 9, 2021
This post has been updated.