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Starbucks Workers To Start Voting On Whether To Unionize

Starbucks has repeatedly tried to delay the employee-led unionization vote at three Buffalo locations.

Pushing back against corporate efforts to delay, Starbucks ( (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report) workers at three New York stores are set to start voting on whether to unionize.

The Associated Press reported that approximately 100 workers at three separate Starbucks locations in the Buffalo area will start mailing ballots on Wednesday evening for a vote that will be tallied on Dec. 9. 

Even though Starbucks's corporate team sent a letter asking the employees at all 20 of its Buffalo stores in New York to delay the vote, the National Labor Relations Board’s regional office in Buffalo approved it.

As none of the nearly 9,000 current Starbucks stores in the country are unionized, the efforts are significant despite the small number of stores and employees that are participating. 

The workers in favor of the union are asking to be represented by Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

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"It’s a much bigger deal than the number of people would suggest,” former NLRB chair and union attorney Wilma Liebman, told Bloomberg. “Winning is contagious, and it could spread like wildfire.”

Employees interested in unionizing have repeatedly brought up understaffing, faulty equipment and underpayment despite record Starbucks sales of $29 billion in 2021 as key concerns. 

After news of burgeoning unionization efforts started getting media attention, 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.

The vote may be pulled back at the last minute: Starbucks appealed the decision late on Monday in a request to have the large NLRB in Washington review the vote.

At close,  (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report stock was down 0.34% to $113.25.