Workers at the Starbucks kiosk in Eastview Mall approved the formation of a union despite what labor leaders say was a concerted effort by the coffee company to dissuade employees from organizing.
The National Labor Relations Board counted ballots on Tuesday evening. The vote was 8-0.
“For us, it’s about accountability,” Sasha Belyablya, barista at the kiosk, said in a news release. “It’s about recognizing the consistent, location-based issues we’re having. But as a kiosk, we’re more of a family than other stores, and there’s a lot of strength in that unity.”
The Eastview location became the third Starbucks in the Greater Rochester area to join a union. The others are in Rochester on Mount Hope Avenue and in Brighton at the corner of Monroe Avenue and Clover Street.
“Rochester Starbucks workers have faced some of the worst union-busting in the country, and I am proud to stand behind the Eastview partners as they organize,” said Gary Bonadonna Jr., manager of Workers United Rochester Regional Joint Board. “They are an inspiration to the whole labor movement, and their victory will give others the courage to take on their bosses and win democracy in their workplaces.”
Starbucks’ corporate office said the company recognizes the choices of employees and abides by federal law.
“We respect the right of all partners to make their decisions regarding union issues, whether they favor or oppose representation, and in all union dealings, including collective bargaining, we will always engage honestly and in good faith,” a spokesperson said in an email to the Rochester Business Journal. “We appreciate every opportunity to share the facts and address inaccuracies about our company and our partners, and we are confident in our stringent compliance with federal labor law and commitment to our mission and values.”
There are more than 250 unionized Starbucks across the U.S. and another 320 have filed for union elections. The union says Starbucks workers have organized more unions in one year than any company had in the past two decades.
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