Starbucks workers at a Buffalo location voted 19-8 in favor of a union, The Associated Press reported, citing the National Labor Relations Board. That national board must certify the vote which would make it the first Starbucks-owned story to unionize, the AP said.
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, says some of the Starbucks employees may be surprised to watch four hours of pay every month go toward mandatory union dues if the vote is certified.
The state of New York, he says, does not have right-to-work laws protecting non-union employees.
“And, you know, I guess the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee will probably increase a little bit,” he observes. “But that apparently doesn't matter to most folks (since) they feel like $6 on a cup of coffee is not a problem."
Starbucks customers apparently agree. The corporation says it will finish 2021 with more than $32 billion in global sales for its high-priced items.
Starbucks, which has fought attempts to unionize for years, announced in October it plans pay raises in 2022 for its so-called baristas. It is also raising its base pay to $15 an hour by next summer, CNBC reported. Some locations will pay even higher starting wages.
Other union-joining votes were held at two other Starbucks locations in the city. Workers at a second location rejected unionizing in a 12-8 vote. The vote at the third location is in dispute over challenged ballots.
According to Mix, the pro-union vote demonstrates that hourly workers are being protected under federal labor laws that permit them to organize and hold a vote.
"Labor law works,” he says. “These workers exercised their rights to join union, and they had a vote.”