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Buffalo-Area Workers Leading Starbucks Unionization Effort

Starbucks workers in Buffalo, New York, are leading a unionization effort under the name Starbucks Workers United (Twitter profile). Workers from three stores have filed petitions with the National Labor Relations Board to hold elections for union representation.

Presently, none of Starbucks’ more than 8,000 company-operated stores in the United States are unionized. The company, which famously refers to all its employees as “partners,” has not experienced an organized labor movement of this high a profile since at least the early 2000s.

“We believe that there can be no true partnership without power-sharing and accountability,” a letter issued by the Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee, addressed to Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson, stated last week. “We are organizing a union because we believe that this is the best way to contribute meaningfully to our partnership with the company and ensure both that our voices are heard and that, when we are heard, we have equal power to affect change and get things done.”

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