Starbucks ($SBUX) union push spreads to 54 stores in 19 states

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Starbucks is facing a fast-growing union campaign just weeks after the first U.S. corporate store unionized in Buffalo, N.Y.

Employees at 54 stores in 19 states are pursuing union elections, according to organizers. Fifteen of those stores joined the union drive on Monday, petitioning the federal labor officials to set a vote. The filing coincides with the start of contract negotiations between Starbucks and unionized workers in Buffalo.

Last month, Starbucks workers at three New York stores held union elections. A majority voted in favor at two of the three locations, unionizing 64 workers. Now, some 30 Starbucks workers in Mesa, Ariz., are wrapping up their own union election by mail. Employees at three more Buffalo-area locations also begin voting this week. Starbucks workers form their 1st union in the U.S. in a big win for labor.

Altogether, the union-election push affects only a fraction of almost 9,000 U.S. stores run by Starbucks. But the quick and high-profile first union victory in Buffalo became a watershed moment for the company, especially as restaurant workers are among the country's least unionized.


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