Less than one and one-half miles away from the flagship Starbucks that launched a global coffee empire five decades ago, employees unanimously voted for their shop to unionize. It became the seventh such store to vote to unionize, joining five stores in Buffalo, New York, and one in Mesa, Arizona. Of the 157 (and rising) Starbucks currently organizing or planning to organize, only one thus far (also in Buffalo) has sided with management.
Pay careful attention to what the employees of the Seattle store that just went union told The Seattle Times in speaking about what this vote means for employees in the food and beverage service industry generally.
Says one shift supervisor:
In the past, maybe these were very transient jobs people only stayed in for a few years, but increasingly they are becoming people's sources of income and livelihood. People in these positions are saying, "OK. This is what I'm doing. This has to be better than it currently is." This is a signal for the larger food industry that it is changing and it is building toward something hopefully more sustainable.
Added another employee from a different Seattle Starbucks also seeking to unionize, "We want to kick down the door in the entire food service industry."
This is precisely why I tell the craft breweries with whom I work (and want to work) that they should be paying very close attention to what's happening at Starbucks. Starbucks is the start of this movement, not an endpoint. The question is whether you're ready when the union comes knocking at your door. Don't assume they won't, because you are squarely in their crosshairs. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I suggest you reach out to your friendly neighborhood labor/craft beer lawyer to get you ready before it's too late.