There were zero unionized Starbucks stores at this time last year . Now there are over 200. Happy labor day.
Facebook’s “large text” status updates were not designed to support citations or links in most cases. The post closely followed late August 2022 polling data from Gallup, indicating record high levels of support for unions in 2022.
A Gallup.com item published on August 30 2022 about increasing support for unions mentioned Starbucks in its coverage, explaining:
Seventy-one percent of Americans now approve of labor unions. Although statistically similar to last year’s 68%, it is up from 64% before the pandemic and is the highest Gallup has recorded on this measure since 1965.
These data are from Gallup’s annual Work and Education survey, collected Aug. 1-23 .
The latest approval figure comes amid a burst of 2022 union victories across the country, with high-profile successes at major American corporations such as Amazon and Starbucks. The National Labor Relations Board reported a 57% increase in union election petitions filed during the first six months of fiscal year 2021.
Per the meme, more than 200 Starbucks locations unionized between Labor Day in 2021 and the same holiday in 2022. There were roughly 15,444 Starbucks locations in the United States as of 2021, 8,900 of which were company-owned; 200 of the 8,900 company-owned stores was around two and a quarter percent.
On August 5 2022, financial news outlet CNBC published “Unions are forming at Starbucks, Apple and Google. Here’s why workers are organizing now,” placing the number of unionized Starbucks locations at 209 as of that date (based on information from the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB):
As of Wednesday [August 3 2022], 209 Starbucks stores have officially voted to unionize according to the National Labor Relations Board. First-ever unions have also formed at an Apple store in Maryland, a Google Fiber contractor, REI, Trader Joe’s, Kickstarter and Activision Blizzard.
That figure was slightly more precise than the one on the Starbucks Workers United website (sbworkersunited.org). It simply placed the number at “more than 200,” and perhaps served as the source for the Facebook post.
As for whether Starbucks had unionized locations before September 2021, there were early efforts in 1985 between Starbucks workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. After that, there were sporadic efforts to unionize Starbucks locations.
On December 9 2021, NPR’s “Starbucks workers form their 1st union in the U.S. in a big win for labor” reported that Starbucks workers in Buffalo, New York had voted to become the first unionized location:
Starbucks workers have voted to form their first U.S. union [in December 2021].
Workers from one store in Buffalo, N.Y., voted to unionize, in a watershed moment for Starbucks, which operates 8,953 stores in the United States.
Starbucks has promoted its reputation as a progressive employer with generous benefits, arguing that a union is not necessary.
In fact, Starbucks has fought off organizing attempts in New York City and Philadelphia. Decades earlier, in the 1980s, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union for a while represented some Starbucks staff. That union still represents workers at some locations run by grocery stores and not directly by Starbucks.
A September 5 2022 Facebook post claimed that as of September 2021, there were “zero unionized Starbucks stores,” with “over 200” unionized in September 2022. The official Starbucks Workers United website placed the number of unionized Starbucks stores at “over 200” as of September 7 2022. An August 5 2022 CNBC article provided a figure of 209 unionized Starbucks locations, according to the NRLB, and a count on unionelections.org on September 7 2022 placed the number at 209.