Starbucks vows good-faith talks with 1st unionized store

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Starbucks employee Brian Murray, center, and other employees and supporters react as votes are read during a viewing party for their union election on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. Starbucks workers at a store in Buffalo, voted to unionize on Thursday, a first for the 50-year-old coffee retailer in the U.S. and the latest sign that the labor movement is stirring after decades of decline. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks says it will negotiate in good faith with workers at the first store to unionize in the company’s 50-year history.

In a letter sent to all U.S. employees Rossann Williams, an executive vice president, said Starbucks never favored unionization and still prefers to speak directly to employees, but respects the legal process and wants to work with those in Buffalo who voted in favor of union representation.

“If we sometimes fall short, we want to continue to hear from you,” Williams wrote to employees. “That way we can work together to make the improvements necessary to provide you the very best partner experience we can.”

Workers at a store in Buffalo, New York, voted to unionize two weeks ago, a first for any Starbucks location. A second store rejected unionization, but the union said it might challenge that result because it wasn’t confident all of the eligible votes had been counted. The results of a third store could not be determined because both sides challenged seven separate votes.

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