Starbucks workers have organized more than 50 stores in the United States

Starbucks’ organizing effort passed a major milestone on Tuesday: More than 50 stores have unionized, and many more are likely on the way.

So far, the campaign known as Starbucks Workers United has won the vast majority of union elections that have taken place. As of noon, the union had won 46 out of 54 contests, or 85% of them, according to data from the National Labor Relations Board. The union had only lost five elections and the results were still unclear in three others.

Starbucks Workers United surpassed the 50-store mark later in the day, after winning four straight ballots for stores in Massachusetts. The labor board has still not certified the results of some elections, and the company may choose to challenge them.

None of the approximately 9,000 Starbucks-owned U.S. stores were union members until last year, when Starbucks Workers United began organizing in the Buffalo, NY, area and quickly expanded to other regions. The campaign is part of the Workers United union, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, which has 2 million members.

The campaign shared the news on Twitter to celebrate what seemed almost impossible just a year ago.

At this rate, the union is likely to organize over a hundred stores and possibly many more, judging by the number of elections the workers have demanded. The union had called for votes at 237 stores on Tuesday, the labor board said. Votes are already scheduled for 118 of them in the coming weeks.

Workers can call for an election once 30% or more of a workplace has signed union authorization cards. When an election is held, the union must obtain a simple majority of the votes cast to win and become the representative of the workers during the negotiation.

But Starbucks Workers United seems to be gathering a super majority of support at many stores, judging by their success rate. Many of their election victories were shutouts in which no worker voted against the union.

And while many wins have been blowouts, the handful of losses for the union have tended to be close, like its narrow Defeat 8-7 in a Hawaii store on Monday.

Starbucks aggressively fought the union campaign. The company tried to slow the pace of union elections through the labor board and sent managers, all the way to CEO Howard Schultz, to urge workers to vote against unionization. Starbucks recently filed a complaint with the board accusing the union of harassing employees and customers.

Nearly 240 Starbucks stores across the country have filed a petition for union elections.

The union filed a litany of its own charges against Starbucks, alleging the company unlawfully retaliated against pro-union workers to stifle the organizing drive. Agency officials have found merit in some of these claims.

An NLRB regional manager has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks regarding a group of Tennessee workers Starbucks fired in February, known as the Memphis Seven, accusing the company of targeting them for their union activism. In a separate case, another regional manager sought an injunction in federal court to put three Starbucks employees back to work, claiming the company retaliated against them.

Starbucks maintains it did not target anyone for union organizing, saying all workers who were terminated or disciplined violated company policy.

Starbucks’ labor campaign has been one of the most scrutinized in decades. The group still represents only a small fraction of Starbucks’ total workforce of more than 200,000 people, but the inroads it has made in a powerful and previously unionless company have given the labor movement a boost. optimism at a time of low union membership.

So has the recent success of Amazon’s new union, which won a historic election at an 8,000-worker fulfillment center on Staten Island in March. The vote created the tech giant’s first organized facility in the United States. The Amazon Labor Union lost a vote at a second, smaller Staten Island facility on Monday, but union leaders predicted another Amazon election is ahead.

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