BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) impounded votes Wednesday of three Starbucks stores.
"It’s really heartbreaking because we've been going at this for five and a half months," Starbucks shift supervisor Angel Krempa said.
Before the vote, Starbucks submitted a request for review, saying stores should not be able to vote for unionization as separate units.
"The law says they can,” attorney for the campaign Ian Hayes said. “Starbucks is raising a nonsense argument saying they can't."
In a statement, Starbucks said:
Our districts operate as cohesive units and we believe all of our partners who are impacted deserve the right to make their voice heard. In January, we asked the NLRB to review its decision on the voting unit, as the decision impacts all partners in the district. We made this request in a timely manner and had every expectation that this outstanding decision would be made before the count. We will continue to respect the NLRB’s process and our partners’ voices.
In a statement, the NLRB said:
If the Board hasn’t issued their decision ruling on the request for review by the scheduled ballot count date, and the count is not postponed, then the ballots will be impounded until the Board does issue the decision. For every request for review, the Board aims to thoroughly examine the parties’ arguments while also acting quickly to ensure that workers have the opportunity to vote whether or not they want a union to represent them. But these competing concerns mean that the Board will not always rule on a request for review before the scheduled count date. “
"We want that one body [NLRB] to protect us and they're really not doing their effort to protect us right now," Krempa said.
Even though ballots were not counted on Wednesday, union leaders said they're confident votes will be counted eventually and in the union's favor.
"It’s not a ‘no,’” Krempa said. “It's just a delayed victory at this point."
Krempa said even though she's confident in a pro-union vote, nothing is definite at this point.
"Because people do whatever they want to when they vote,” Krempa said. “And that's the beautiful thing about getting them their ballots."
But she said if her store does unionize, they will ask for a comprehensive pay raise, uniform training throughout the company and a consistent manager.
"To bring back that accountability," Krempa said.
Once the NLRB does rule on the review, a new date to count votes will have to be scheduled.