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Starbucks Staff Can Vote to Unionize at Three More New York Stores, U.S. Labor Official Rules

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Starbucks Corp. employees at three more restaurants in New York state will vote on unionization, a U.S. labor official ruled Friday, offering organizers a chance to expand a new labor foothold that’s already inspiring copycat efforts around the country.

In her ruling, Nancy Wilson, an acting regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, rejected the company’s arguments against holding store-by-store votes. She ordered that ballots be mailed to employees on January 31 and due back by February 22.

Employees at the three stores will vote on joining Workers United, the same Service Employees International Union affiliate that recently won elections at two other sites in the same Buffalo region. Those two restaurants represent the sole unionized locations at Starbucks’s roughly 9,000 corporate-run U.S. locations.

People march during a protest in support of Amazon and Starbucks workers in New York City on November 26, 2021.YUKI IWAMURA—AFP/Getty Images

Workers are also slated to vote on joining Workers United this month in Arizona, and others have petitioned for votes in cities including Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Knoxville, Tennessee, and the company’s hometown of Seattle. The campaign has continued to spread this week, with new election petitions filed in Ohio, New Jersey, and Florida.

In a December letter to employees, the company’s North America president Rossann Williams reiterated that “we do not want a union between us as partners,” but that “we respect the legal process,” and “will bargain in good faith” at the first New York store where the union prevailed.

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