- Starbucks workers at one of the chain’s two co-branded Starbucks Pickup/Amazon Go locations have filed for a National Labor Relations Board union election with Starbucks Workers United, the union announced in an email Friday.
- Recent NLRB election filings indicate the campaign is regaining organizing momentum, which had stalled over the summer, union sources told Restaurant Dive.
- The Starbucks’ units within Amazon Go are both located in New York City, according to Starbucks’ website. The cafe that filed to unionize is located in the New York Times building, according to SBWU.
The New York Times building cafe employs between 28 and 30 workers, the union wrote in an email to Restaurant Dive. About 20 workers have signed union cards at the location as of Friday. Workers cited high traffic and high employee turnover as factors driving their organizing, according to a press release. SBWU said some workers had been transferred into the store involuntarily, and that Starbucks baristas perform uncompensated work for Amazon Go. This work includes inventory support and cleaning tasks, per union sources. Starbucks did respond to a request for comment on the filing before press time.
The nearby Starbucks Reserve Roastery is facing an indefinite strike, which is in its fourth day as of Friday, over working conditions, SBWU said.
The election petition comes at a pivotal moment in the Starbucks union drive. Election filings fell to a monthly low in August, with only eight stores filing that month, before rising to 12 petitions in September, according to NLRB data. Ten have filed so far in October. Union sources attributed the slump in organizing over the summer to the company’s decision to grant non-union workers benefits unavailable to union workers and its refusal to implement those benefits at union stores after the union waived the obligation to bargain.
Union sources told Restaurant Dive they believed organizing momentum is recovering, and that the company’s bargaining tactics have aided SBWU on the shop floor. Starbucks and Workers United exchanged statements at the end of September, saying they were willing to bargain in October. The union and company agreed to bargain at a number of stores, and began meeting Oct. 24, Rebecca Hess, the organizing director for Workers United’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board, said.
Previous bargaining sessions in Buffalo, New York, and Arizona included Zoom participants, a worker on the union’s national bargaining committee told Restaurant Dive. Starbucks representatives this week walked out of bargaining sessions that included members of the union’s national bargaining committee because those workers appeared over Zoom, while Starbucks requested an in-person meeting. The company and union have traded NLRB charges of bad faith bargaining.