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Starbucks Workers In Buffalo Vote To Unionize

'We won Elmwood!' Brian Murray, a member of the Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee tweeted on Thursday.

In a move widely considered to be a harbinger of a larger movement, Starbucks ( (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report) workers in at least one location in Buffalo, N.Y. have voted to be represented by Workers United on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Board rejected corporate attempts to stop a vote count that would allow over 100 employees at three Buffalo stores to vote on whether to unionize. 

Voting began on Nov. 10 and was held by mail over the course of a month.

On Dec. 9, the votes were in the process of being tallied and at least one location in Elmwood had enough votes in support of unionization.

"We won Elmwood!" Brian Murray, a member of the Starbucks Workers United Organizing Committee, tweeted at 1:45 p.m. ET on Thursday. "The first unionized Starbucks is here." 

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The serious push for unionization began in the summer after employees started bringing up understaffing, faulty equipment and underpayment despite record Starbucks sales of $29 billion in 2021 in the summer. 

"Residents have taken over 1000 lawn signs supporting us, they come into the stores and give us messages of support, the love we have felt from this community has been overwhelming and inspiring to say the least," Casey Kennedy Moore, a Starbucks employee at a Buffalo location, told TheStreet.

Starbucks announced in October that it would raise the pay of all hourly-pay employees to at least $15 an hour and an overall average of nearly $17 an hour by summer 2022 but the movement had already started to gather steam.

 Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, reported that a majority of employees at a store in Mesa, Arizona, also asked for representation.

"Starbucks has been fighting our union campaign by closing stores, bringing in what they call the 'Buffalo SWAT team' to surveil and disrupt the campaign, and using legal delays to stall and try to prevent workers from voting for months now," Kennedy-Moore said.

At close on Thursday,  (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report shares were down 0.77% to $115.353.