Reporter, Booking Producer
Starbucks reported record quarterly revenue in fiscal Q4, but the strain of ongoing unionization efforts remains.
As of Friday, there are 320 Starbucks locations that have conducted unionization ballot counts. Of those, 257 have voted yes to unionize, 57 have voted no, and 6 are challenge-determinative. Of those that voted yes, 248 have been certified, and Starbucks is expected to begin bargaining in good faith with the union, according to the National Labor Relations Board.
A recent release from Starbucks Workers United claimed that “after very publicly announcing their intention to bargain at over 200 unionized stores, [Starbucks] walked out of bargaining rooms in Buffalo, Ann Arbor, Louisville, Chicago, and Lakewood, CA, yesterday due to the presence of a simple zoom room. After previously engaging in completely virtual bargaining and hybrid bargaining with no issue, the company suddenly took issue with the format, and only lasted 5 minutes at the table before storming out of the Elmwood negotiation conference room and hosting a company-side caucus for over two and a half hours.”
“As you heard from the company, we truly believe a side by side relationship with our partners is the very best path forward, but we respect the [unionization] process. What we’re focused on is continuing to create the very best experience for our partners. We know that that has worked for the last 50 years, and we’re confident it actually underpins the success of our new era of growth, so that’s where we’re focused, and that’s where our intention is … directly spent,” Starbucks CFO Rachel Ruggeri told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview.
Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union, however, disagrees.
“If that were the case, then workers would be at a bargaining table and being able to have a say directly on the job, and instead Starbucks is choosing to fight tooth and nail, close stores when people unionize … We really welcome the day when the CFO’s comments are the reality with Starbucks because the partners love that company and they want a seat at the table and a voice on the job and to be respected, protected, and paid what they’re worth,” she said.
Henry noted that unionization efforts are gaining steam across the country.