BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A downtown Starbucks has filed to decertify from the union, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

The Starbucks, on Delaware Avenue and W. Chippewa Street, was one of many Starbucks locations in Western New York that voted to unionize. It was the 11th store in the United States and sixth in WNY to unionize.

According to the NLRB, workers from the downtown store filed an RD order, which petitions for decertification. The order can only be filed if a store collects signatures from at least 30 percent of workers.

Workers United said, in a statement, that the Del-Chip store’s decertification was due to Starbucks’ illegal union-busting campaign. Read the full statement below:

The Del-Chip decertification was caused by Starbucks’ illegal union-busting campaign plain and simple. There is no question that this store was particularly hit hard as the cafe that high level Starbucks executives visited on a daily basis at the start of our campaign and has been a target of Starbucks’ vicious attacks on workers since. 

Almost every union leader at the store was fired or forced out because of the environment of intimidation and fear that Starbucks management created. In fact, the company is currently being prosecuted for the discriminatory treatment of workers at the Del-Chip store. In late March, an administrative law Judge found that Starbucks committed “egregious and widespread” violations of federal labor law, including illegally threatening, intimidating, surveilling and firing workers, and illegally closing stores. 

Based on this very clear foundation of the company’s aggressive and deliberate attempts to crush workplace democracy, we expect the petition to be dismissed and workers will continue fighting for justice. When Starbucks loses an election, they should learn to respect democracy, not trample it.”

Workers United

Starbucks released the following statement to News 4 Friday morning:

As with any NLRB petition, our focus is to ensure partners can trust their voice is heard and the process is fair.

The allegations are false. Starbucks policy strictly prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed toward partners who are interested in a union. Where partners have been subject to corrective action it is because they violated established policies and procedures.

In the last year, Starbucks launched a robust management training program and established a dedicated labor relations team for real-time counsel and to support management adherence to company policies and compliance with the complex patchwork of employment and labor law. 

To ensure you have the latest on bargaining —- 

We are committed to engaging in good faith collective bargaining for each store where a union has been appropriately certified. To date, Starbucks has proposed more than 400 single-store bargaining sessions and has appeared in-person and ready to bargain at more than 90 sets of negotiations. Unfortunately, Workers United has only confirmed 24% of the bargaining sessions proposed by the company.

As a sign of progress, Starbucks has met union representatives in-person for complete, full-day bargaining sessions in Seattle, Richmond, Greensburg (PA), Pittsburgh, Knoxville and Albany (NY) in the past monthandhas proposed or confirmed 36 additional in-person bargaining sessions through May 2023.

Starbucks and Workers United representatives have reviewed preliminary economic and non-economic proposals, including what Workers United has called their contract “pillars,” at many of the recent in-person bargaining sessions held for single-stores. At the union’s insistence, Starbucks has only listened to these proposals at these bargaining sessions. Prior to concluding each session, Starbucks representatives have proposed next in person dates to continue negotiations—but Workers United has declined to confirm proposed future sessions or get back to the company with alternate dates. We anticipate future sessions to include a robust discussion about proposed pillars and other mandatory bargaining subjects.

Looking forward, we remain engaged and ready to bargain in-person with the unions certified to represent our partners according to longstanding NLRB precedent, and we continue to encourage all parties to apply current law in their approach to future bargaining efforts.”



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Emily Miller is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2022. See more of her work here.