Workers at nation’s first unionized Starbucks walk off the job

Business

Starbucks employees and supporters react as votes are read during a union-election watch party on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. Starbucks workers voted to unionize over the company’s objections, pointing the way to a new labor model for the 50-year old coffee giant. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Starbucks Workers United says the employees of the nation’s first unionized store, in Buffalo, have walked off the job.

According to the group, the workers left due to “unsafe working conditions.”

“They have been pressured to work by Starbucks despite understaffing and health concerns,” Starbucks Workers United wrote. “We believe everyone deserves the right to feel safe at work! Partners will return when it’s safe to do so.”

A protest taking place outside the store was streamed live on Instagram.

It was just last month that the Buffalo coffee shop became the first of nearly 9,000 company-owned stores in the United States to unionize.

In order to unionize, a store needs a majority vote, which means at least 50 percent, plus one. During recent votes, another location voted against unionizing, while election results at a third are unclear due to contested votes.

Outside of New York, Starbucks workers in Boston, Massachusetts are also looking to unionize after the results of the Buffalo vote.

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