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Labor Board Certifies Starbucks Union Win for Buffalo Store (1)

Dec. 17, 2021, 6:07 PMUpdated: Dec. 17, 2021, 7:30 PM

The National Labor Relations Board has certified the inaugural union of Starbucks employees at a store in Buffalo, N.Y., an agency spokeswoman said Friday.

Starbucks will now be legally required to bargain with the workers over a labor contract. Workers at the store voted in favor of a union earlier this month.

“We remain committed to supporting our partners and are considering all options that will best protect the work flexibility, transferability, and equitable benefits of all our partner,” Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borgess said.

The certification came the same day the union filed complaints about elections at two other other Buffalo-area stores. The labor group, Workers United, asked the labor board to review allegations that Starbucks waged a “shock and awe” campaign to intimidate workers.

Employees at one store voted against the union while the outcome at the other depends on the outcome of voter-eligibility challenges.

The labor board can invalidate election results if it believes one or both of the parties did something illegal to alter the outcome. Such decisions start on the local level and can be appealed to board members in Washington, who can order a new election or require the employer to bargain with the proposed union.

(Updated to include a statement from Starbucks in third paragraph. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Kullgren in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at