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Fox Business reports that "two Starbucks locations in Boston on Monday petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to hold elections to unionize," a move that comes days after one of the company's stores in Buffalo, New York, voted to join a labor union.

In a letter to CEO Kevin Johnson, employees at the two stores wrote that "like the partners in Buffalo, Arizona, and beyond, we believe that there can be no true partnership without power-sharing and accountability … We are organizing a union in Boston because we believe that this is the best way to contribute meaningfully to our partnership with the company … We want to ensure that our voices are heard and that we have equal power to affect positive change for our store, district, and company."

The story notes that "the Boston employees are seeking to vote on being represented by Workers United, a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union – which is the same one the unionized Buffalo location joined. Another Buffalo store rejected unionization last week, while the decision at a third remains up in the air amid a conflict over voter eligibility."

Johnson has said that unionization at the company's stores "goes against having that direct relationship with our partners that has served us so well for decades and allowed us to build this great company."

KC's View:

This isn't exactly venti level unionization, but it does have to be a little troubling to the folks in Seattle, who have always promoted the image of a company where employees are recognized, appreciated and celebrated.  

It may be that this image is more rooted in the past than in a current reality, but it also may be that these unionization moves are more reflective of where the organized labor pendulum happens to be at the moment.  Either way, it seems to have small but significant momentum.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  What's the over/under on when Howard Schultz tries to return to the company?