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Starbucks Employees in Upstate New York Rally to Form the Chain’s First Union

Plus, House of Yes reopens this weekend — and more intel

A person in a green apron pours milk from a pitcher into a white Starbucks to-go cup. Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Starbucks workers in Buffalo are trying to form the chain’s first union

A group of 50 Starbucks workers in Buffalo, New York, are trying to organize the chain’s first-ever union, according to an Insider report. The employees formed an organizing committee called “Starbucks Workers United,” and released an open letter to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson this week detailing their intent to unionize.

“We see unions as the best way to make Starbucks a place to have a sustainable career and a true partnership,” the letter reads. “We do not see our desire to organize as a reaction to specific policies but as a commitment to making Starbucks, Buffalo, and the world a better place.” A Starbucks spokesperson told Insider that the company doesn’t see the need for a workers union due to its positive work environment and “outstanding compensation and benefits.”

Between the challenges of working throughout a pandemic coupled with the more recent labor shortages that have left some shops with understaffed shifts, the unionization efforts gained momentum, a Starbucks shift supervisor told Insider. The organizing committee is aiming to represent all 20 Buffalo-area Starbucks stores, according to Insider. It currently has support from 18 locations.

The Starbucks workers are attempting to follow in the footsteps of other cafe staffers who have recently unionized their workplaces. Earlier this week, workers at Wisconsin-based coffee chain Colectivo Coffee officially formed a union, representing the largest coffee chain union in the country with about 400 members. In Buffalo, SPoT Coffee also recently unionized with about 130 members.

In other news

— Nightlife icon House of Yes is officially reopening on Saturday, August 28.

— Brooklyn artist Kemar Wynter is building a reputation for abstract paintings based in part on the food that he grew up eating, from Macaroni Pie to Aunt Pearline’s Potato Salad.

— Two Brooklyn teens are fighting to save South Slope’s historic Grand Prospect Hall from demolition by securing landmark status for the space.

— Pandemic pizza barterer Gabriele Lamonaca — who now runs a Union Square pizza shop — made a deal with reality TV broker Ryan Serhant to trade pizza for a cocktail party at Serhant’s swanky $4.75 million Harlem penthouse.

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