As Elmwood moves forward with unionization and Genesee challenges vote, stores nationwide look to unionize

Starbucks Unionization Effort

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The road for pro-union workers has been long. The baristas started their movement more than three months ago, and labor experts say they still have more miles to go — depending on which shop you are talking about.

There were no challenges filed in the Elmwood Avenue vote, which makes their path much shorter. But pro-union workers at the Cheektowaga store have accused the company of trying to sandbag their efforts by manipulating workers between stores.

Their challenges could lead to formal objections.

“These are not partners that are on our payroll, these are not my store partners, they don’t work at my location,” said Alexis Rizzo, a partner at the Genesee Street location. “They all picked up shifts for a period of about a week a few months ago. So we’re very confident we’re going to win these challenges easily.”

“Once that’s resolved, and if the objections are overruled, then the company will have to bargain with the union,” said Bert Dice-Goldberg, a retired National Labor Relations Board attorney.

Dice-Goldberg said the process of determining whether the union prevails could take weeks or months.

Starbucks filed one objection to the vote at the Cheektowaga store, and Dice-Goldberg told News 4 the company also has the right to file objections to the conduct of the elections themselves. If those objections go to a hearing, they could take months to resolve.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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