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Starbucks Union Irate as Appeal Halts Vote Count at Three Stores

Feb. 23, 2022, 9:02 PM

Starbucks Workers United sharply criticized a delay in the counting of union ballots at three Buffalo, N.Y., stores, accusing the company of intentionally stalling the election.

The Wednesday count was postponed until after the National Labor Relations Board issues a decision on an appeal from Starbucks Corp. The company has argued that any union election should include multiple stores, meaning the union would need more votes to win.

The board denied a similar appeal on Wednesday in Mesa, Ariz., suggesting the workers in Buffalo will ultimately win. That didn’t stop the union from excoriating the NLRB—controlled by a Democratic majority—for not ruling on the appeal sooner.

“I am done trying to define what is motivating them or why what they do happens,” said Ian Hayes, an attorney for the union. “This is the result we got today, I don’t know how else to explain it. I would love to hear an explanation from them.”

In a statement, NLRB Spokewoman Kayla Blado said that either party can request a review of a regional director’s decision, and that ballots are impounded if the board hasn’t made a decision by the scheduled count date.

“For every request for review, the Board aims to thoroughly examine the parties’ arguments while also acting quickly to ensure that workers have the opportunity to vote whether or not they want a union to represent them,” Blado said.

“These competing concerns mean that the Board will not always rule on a request for review before the scheduled count date,” she added.

Reggie Borges, a spokesman for the coffee purveyor, told Bloomberg Law, “Our position since the beginning has been that all partners in a market or district deserve the right to vote on a decision that will impact them. We will continue to respect the NLRB’s process and advocate for our partners’ ability to make their voices heard.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Kullgren in Washington at ikullgren@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com, Melissa B. Robinson at mrobinson@bloomberglaw.com

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